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At the end of two periods last night, the Harvard men's hockey team found itself down 2-1 with an Army standing in its way.
Fortunately for the Crimson, that Army was the host Cadets (1-3-2 overall, 1-2-1 ECAC) from West Point, who saw their lead disappear like a Stealth Bomber. Harvard (3-1, 3-1) enlisted its own Operation Imminent Thunder in the third period, scoring four unanswered goals en route to a 5-2 victory in Tate Rink.
The victory left Harvard in a third-place ECAC tie with St. Lawrence, one point behind Clarkson and Cornell. The Golden Knights and the Big Red skated to a 3-3 draw Saturday night to remain tied for the league lead.
Freshman defender Sean McCann officially launched the Harvard offensive, tying the game 25 seconds into the final period. McCann intercepted an errant Army clearing pass at the blue line and whistled a low slapshot past Cadets goalie Brooks Chretien.
Steve Flomenhoft continued the onslaught six minutes later, netting a goal to put the Crimson up 3-2. Ted Drury scooped up a loose puck to the left of Chretian and fed a cutting Flomenhoft at the top of the circle. The sophomore center one-timed it past the Cadet goalie, and the hosts found themselves saddled with a deficit they couldn't make up.
Two minutes after Flomenhoft's goal, senior wing Peter Ciavaglia netted an unassisted insurance tally. Classmate Mike Vukonich's score at the 15-minute mark ended the Harvard barrage and put the game out of reach.
"We knew if we stayed with the basics, worked hard and forechecked, the goals would come," Flomenhoft said. "We wanted to take the body and get on them. It happened to work."
The Crimson started the game as if they were still reeling from Friday night's 4-3 loss at Princeton. Army controlled the early tempo, taking a 1-0 lead five minutes into the game on Kevin Darby's goal.
A Scott Barringer slapshot tied the game with three minutes to go in the first period, but Army quickly reclaimed the lead early in the second frame. Brad Hamacher did the honors, beating Crimson goalie Allain Roy (13 saves) to put the Cadets up, 2-1.
"In the first two periods, we weren't very aggressive," McCann said. "We were playing a "Harvard forecheck,' which is less aggressive. But in the third period we wanted to jump on them right away. We wanted to be more aggressive, and we showed them what we could do."
Army Coach Rob Riley had promised a bloodbath reminiscent of last year's Tate clash and sure enough, a Cadets hacker sent sophomore wing Matt Mallgrave to the bench in the second session with a reinjured shoulder. Since senior wing John Weisbrod was already sidelined with a sore back, Harvard Coach Ronn Tomassoni was forced to go with a three-line rotation the remainder of the game.
"It was a pretty physical game," McCann said. "There were a lot of hits."
Crimson, 5-2 in West Point, N.Y. HARVARD 1-0-4--5 Army 1-1-0--2
First Period: 1,A, Kevin Darby (Todd Tamburino, Brad Hamacher) 4:58; 2, H, Scott Barringer (Sean McCann) 17:18.
Second Period: 3, A, Hamacher (Darby Tamburino) 5:34.
Third Period: 4, H, McCann (unassisted) 0:25; 5, H, Steve Flomenhoft (Ted Drury, McCann) 7:08; 6, H, Peter Ciavaglia (unassisted) 9:22; 7, H, Mike Vukonich (Ted Donato, Brian Farrell) 15:05.
Saves: H, Allain Roy 13; A, Brooks Chretien 25.
Power Play: H, 1-7; A, 2-11.
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