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Icemen Make Woes for ECAC Coaches

Hockey Notebook

By Jennifer M. Frey

As the news filtered out of Bright Center and into other ECAC rinks this past weekend, most league coaches were pretty unhappy.

At Colgate's Starr Rink Friday night, when the word came over the speakers that Harvard was leading, 9-0, after two periods, Princeton Coach Jim Higgins had already found himself in a two-goal hole to the league-leading Red Raiders.

"All I could think was, `Oh shit, this is the last thing I need,''' said Higgins, whose team is Harvard's next opponent. "I knew they'd be back sometime, I was just hoping we'd get another shot at them first."

The following night, with Colgate and Army in overtime, the not-so-impartial Starr Rink announcer gave the final Harvard-Brown score with a groan.

"He should have been moaning for [Brown goalie] Chris Harvey," said Red Raider Coach Terry Slater, whose team ended up tying Army, 2-2.

Leader of the Pack: Junior Mike Vukonich leads the nation in points-per-game with a 2.4 average. Vukonich is also tops in the league in scoring with 11 goals and 13 assists for a whopping 34 points--that makes teammate C.J. Young (17-15--32) the only other forward less than 10 points behind.

Harvard boasts five of the league's top ten scorers in Vukonich, Young, junior John Weisbrod (7-17--24), Pete Ciavaglia (11-8--19) and rookie Ted Drury (7-11--18) and two of the top five goalies in Allain Roy and Chuckie Hughes (both have a 3.15 g.a.a).

The Dynamic Duo: things are finally back to normal in the Crimson net. Hughes got a shutout on Friday night, Roy got a big win on Saturday. Roy has his quiet confidence back. Hughes, well, he's back to being "cocky," to use Vukonich's term.

And the competition between the two is right back on schedule.

"Last year the competition was fierce," Hughes said. "Al would have a good game, then I'd get worried about having to have a good game. This year, it's almost been the opposite--he'd have a bad game, then I'd have a bad game. I think now things are kind of back to where they were last year."

Hughes evened up the perfect-game tally with a shutout of Yale--matching Roy's blanking of Cornell earlier this season--and gained more ground in the point-scoring column with an assist Friday, giving him two points to Roy's zero.

Roy, by the way, was the only Harvard player who played but didn't score over the weekend. All 19 of the other Crimson icemen managed at least an assist.

"[Chuckie] give me a hard time [about scoring], so I tell him that I'm concentrating on the protecting the goal, not scoring," Roy said.

A Big, Bad Boy: Final season stats on Kevan Melrose: 16 games, one goal, six assists, seven points and 124 penalty minutes. That's only two fewer minutes in the sin bin than he had in twice as many games last season, and his ECAC total (98) is only six shy of last year's full-season league leader (Scott Young, Colgate).

The First Time: Senior Brian Popiel and sophomore Jim Coady scored their first-ever collegiate goals Friday and Saturday, respectively, to make sophomores Scott Barringer, Kevin Sneddon and Rich DeFreitas the only goal-less players on the current Crimson contingent.

Goal of the Week: Take your pick.

Players of the Week: Offense: Steve Flomenhoft. Between checks, this rookie forward managed to pump in four goals and an assist in Harvard's two-game series, including his first collegiate hat trick in Harvard's 14-4 win against the Bruins.

Defense: Popiel. Ignore the fact that Popiel scored his first--and second--collegiate goals this weekend. The senior has improved behind the blue-line all season and had two big sliding saves against Yale.

A New Career? Sighted pumping gas at an Upstate New York filling station: ex-RPI Coach Mike Addesa.

Addesa, who has a part-ownership in a pair of filling stations located in the Albany area, helped out with the pumps over the Christmas holidays. The eight-year Engineer coach resigned under pressure from the administration after making racist statements to an RPI team member.

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