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The spark that ignited the Harvard hockey team's 18-goal Brown-Yale weekend took an untimely Thanksgiving break against B.U. last night at Bright Center.
The Terriers (4-2-1), led by Peter Ahola and Phil von Stefenelli, shut down the Crimson attack by stepping up to the blue line and clearing the puck down the wings, preventing a lethargic Harvard offense from pressuring B.U. netminder John Bradley.
"Tonight was our worst effort," Harvard wing Peter Ciavaglia said. "It gives us a lesson. You can't come out flat and beat the good teams. They didn't let us get out of our zone. We couldn't start our rushes with a good break-out play. Their defenders stepped up and stymied us. I don't remember many three-on-two's or two-on-one's."
Not for Harvard's offense, that is. Rush after rush, the Terriers plastered Harvard netminder Chuckie Hughes with shots. Hughes dove, blocked and fell in front of 38 B.U. shots.
But the Crimson defense failed to stop the swarming Terriers attack. Harvard's wings couldn't drop back fast enough to keep pace with speedy Terriers Shawn McEachern, Dave Sacco and Tony Amonte. The Crimson (3-2) didn't flush the pesky B.U. forwards from the crease and paid a hefty price.
Midway through the first period, McEachern corralled the puck from the right side of the Crimson cage. The junior Terrier circled around Hughes and stuffed the puck past the Harvard goaltender to draw first blood.
Going, Going, Gone
For a fleeting moment in the middle of the second stanza, it looked like Harvard would climb back into the contest. Donato seized the puck in the Crimson zone and sent an unexpected slapshot up the middle to Ted Drury, who was at the B.U. blue line The Leverett House sophomore took the feed and raced down the left flank, steaming towards Bradley. But Drury's backhand bounced off Bradley's pads and out of danger.
For the great majority of the game, the Terriers blueliners denied Harvard any breakaway chances.
"I don't think there's any question that this was our best effort of the year," B.U. Coach Jack Parker said. "We focused on defense and we made the plays to get the puck out of our zone and into center ice. Bradley came up with some outstanding saves."
B.U. inched ahead in the second period. Defender Tom Dion controlled the puck on the left side of the Crimson blue line and dished right to Amonte by the face-off circle. Hughes charged to cut off Amonte's angle, but the Terriers sophomore slipped the puck to a wide-open Keith Tkachuk, who slammed it into the bare net.
"2-0 is anybody's game," Parker said. "Bradley came up with the saves, and we got the next goal. Getting the jump on Harvard kept the crowd and band quiet, which is important. They didn't get the spark to get them going."
The Crimson never did get rolling. The Terriers pulled away in the third frame, as Sacco notched his first tally of the contest and McEachern his second.
At the Crimson blue line, Amonte fed Sacco, who raced down his right flank and fired a blast by Hughes at the Crimson's right face-off circle.
Four minutes later, McEachern took a pass from defender Alex Legault and blasted home the final tally from practically the same position.
Harvard senior forward John Weisbrod sat out his second consecutive game with a slipped disk.
"I thought if we could just get one, it snowballs," Harvard Coach Ronn Tomassoni said. "We just needed one bounce. But you have to make your own bounces. We looked tired. [The loss of] Johnny [Weisbrod] hurts. He's a sniper. If we had him, too, who knows what could've happened."
Tomassoni can only hope Weisbrod is the missing spark.
Terriers, 4-0 at Bright Center Boston University 1-1-2--4 HARVARD 0-0-0--0
First Period: 1, B, Shawn McEachern (unassisted) 13:54. Penalties--H, Kevin Sneddon (holding) 0:40; B, Mark Bavis (slashing) 4:56; H, Mike Vukonich (interference) 5:52.
Second Period: 2, B, Keith Tkachuk (Tom Dion, Tony Amonte) 13:39. Penalties--B, Phil van Stefenelli (hooking) 8:55; H, Michel Breistroff (delay of game) 17:22; B, Peter Ahola (delay of game) 17:22.
Third Period: 3, B, Dave Sacco (Amonte) 4:40 (pp); 4, B, McEachern (Amonte, Alex LeGault) 8:14. Penalties--H, Sean McCann (highsticking) 3:37; H, McCann (roughing) 8:49; B, Dave Tomlinson (roughing) 8:49; H, McCann (hooking) 11:47; B, Kevin O'Sullivan (holding) 14:39; B, Ahola (roughing) 19:04.
Saves: B, Joe Bradley 4-11-18--43; H, Chuckie Hughes 14-12-8--34.
Power Play: B, 1-3; H, 0-2.
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