HANOVER, N.H.--The Harvard men's hockey team stepped all over the doormat of the ECAC, rubbing its skates and trouncing Dartmouth, 8-1, here in Thompson Arena last night.
Combined with St. Lawrence's 6-5 overtime win over Clarkson and Cornell's 5-5 tie with Colgate last night, the Crimson (4-3 overall, 4-1 ECAC) is now tied with the Big Red and the Saints for first place in the ECAC with eight points.
Harvard forward Ted Donato's hat trick paced a prolific Crimson attack, ending a scoring drought during which the Crimson produced only one goal in two outings against cross-town rivals B.U. and B.C. last week. But the anemic Big Green was no B.U. or B.C.
In fact, Dartmouth (0-5-1, 0-5-1) last beat Harvard in 1981, and has dropped 19 straight contests to the Crimson. When Harvard stormed out to a 5-0 lead just six minutes into the game, it was clear that the Big Green would not pose a challenge to end the near-decade streak.
"We've beaten three pretty mediocre teams. Hopefully it will carry over to the big games." Donato said.
The Crimson's domination left little for the under-half capacity of the crowd--comprised mostly of the Dartmouth band and local Hanover High students--to get excited about. The crowd was so quiet that Harvard goalie Chuck Hughes' winy Boston accent echoed throughout the rink. It was so uninterested that when a puck flew into the crowd in the first period, nobody scrambled for the souvenir.
"Harvard's got some of the best forwards in the country," Dartmouth Coach Brian Mason said. "It's one of those things we just couldn't match."
Harvard Coach Ronn Tomassoni again adjusted his top offensive lines in an attempt to produce some scoring fire power. And with three Hobey Baker candidates on the first line--Donato, Peter Ciavaglia and Mike Vukonich--Tomassoni finally achieved potent chemistry.
Harvard's new line of fire was brilliant on the evening, making it a short night for Dartmouth goalie Vern Gutens, who was pulled early in the first period, and a very long night for the Big Green defense. Donato added two assists to his three-goal total while Vukonich scored twice and Ciavaglia tallied once and chipped in four assists.
"This is just what the doctor ordered. We had to get the offense going and they [Vukonich, Ciavaglia and Donato] got us going," Tomassoni said. "They broke out of their slump."
Donato scored 51 seconds into the game, stuffing a Ciavaglia pass from the crease past Gutens. The Crimson captain tallied again on a power play two minutes later, knocking in a slapshot from the left point. Vukonich completed the line of fire triumverate's presence on the score sheet, giving Harvard a 3-0 lead 4:30 into the period. Sophomore forward Ted Drury compounded Gutens' troubles by taking the ensuing faceoff and breaking away from the defense to fire a powerful shot just inside the blue line into the twines.
Tim Burke concluded the Crimson's first-period onslaught, stringing passes with Scott Barringer to make the score 5-0.
"We were hoping to keep it close early, and what happened was the exact opposite of what we had to do," Mason said.
The line of fire dominated the score sheet in the second period, which began as Donato fed Vukonich five minutes into the period. The trio followed with its most beautiful scoring antics of the evening, shorthanded, after a Brian McCormack penalty. Donato broke free from the Big Green D, passed between his legs to the trailing Ciavaglia, who then returned the puck to Donato for a quick shot past Dartmouth freshman goalie Mike Bracco. Half a minute later, Ciavaglia juked a Dartmouth defender between the legs and then fired in an unassisted goal.
"Anytime you play with guys like Ted or Pete, you're going to score a lot," Vukonich said.