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Bright Center Press Box Full of Surprises

Hockey Notebook

By John B. Roberts

Hockey rules are made to be broken.

Sure, fighting is prohibited. But hockey isn't tiddlywinks. Stuff happens.

Sure, holding is allegedly illegal. But when a speedy wing comes flying around a burly defender, what's the bruiser supposed to do? Refs understand. They cut the big guys some slack.

Sure, reporters aren't supposed to cheer in the pressbox. But when Ted Donato ripped a slapshot past Rensselaer goaltender Sean Kennedy with five seconds left to play Saturday night, forcing overtime, the rulebook went out the window once again. The media types in Bright's west-end overhang screamed just as loudly as the rowdies in section 12.

And when RPI forward Joe Juneau scored 36 seconds into OT to give the Engineers an 8-7 victory, the mood in the pressbox was somber, too.

You'd think these last-second heroics would be old hat by now. John Weisbrod scored with two seconds left in OT to give Harvard a 3-2 victory over Princeton last season. Three days later, Mike Vukonich tallied with 21 seconds to play to give Harvard a 5-4 Beanpot win over Northeastern. Two months earlier, Vukonich had responded to Vermont's go-ahead goal with 19 seconds to play by tying the game 13 seconds later.

So we're used to this kind of thing. But that doesn't mean we didn't go nuts Saturday night.

Letter-Opener: At Friday night's game against Vermont, The Boston Herald sent a different reporter--Lisa Olson.

Although she only introduced herself as Lisa, her fifteen minutes (plus) of "fame" have placed her firmly into the public's mind. Adding up "Lisa," "The Herald" and "sports reporter" did not take long.

Another clue was the volumes of mail which she brought to Bright Center. With a practiced hand, Olson opened the various envelopes.

"Eighty percent of the letters are positive," Olson said to the Boston Globe reporter on her right.

Uh, Oh, Continued: After the RPI heartbreaker, Harvard Coach Ronn Tomassoni sounded pretty worried about his defense.

He's complaining? Princeton gave up six points in just 20 minutes last week against Lafayette's sharpshooters.

Oops, wrong sport. That was the Princeton men's basketball team. Looks like it might be a long season at Briggs Cage.

Circus of the Stars: The ECAC's heavy firepower was on display Saturday night at Bright: four All-ECAC forward candidates took the ice to start the game. Heck, four Hobey Baker candidates took the ice.

The Harvard megaline of Peter Ciavaglia, Donato and Vukonich clicked for five goals and five assists to remain 1-2-3 atop the league scoring charts. But RPI's Juneau had the last laugh with his OT tally, sending the Engineers back to Troy victorious.

But He Already Doesn't Have Any Hair Left!: Tomassoni had a short meeting with his team after Saturday night's disappointment, so he wasn't in his office to field a postgame telephone call.

"What happened? Did we win?" inquired a familiar squeaky voice.

The caller received the sordid details of the contest's whirlwind finale.

"Oh, sugar!" he blurted out.

The caller was Athletic Director William J. Cleary '56.

Cleary says he misses the camaradarie of coaching, but not the heartburn.

"I told Ronn after the Colgate game, I'm glad it wasn't me in there," Cleary said. "I wouldn't have any hair left. Now Ronn can lose his hair."

January Really Is Exam Month: With a win and a loss last weekend, the Crimson slipped a few notches in the national rankings. While falling to 12th in The Albany-Times Union poll, Harvard also let St. Lawrence, currently second in the ECAC, climb a bit closer in the league standings.

The Saints (6-2-1 ECAC) trail the Crimson (8-2 ECAC) by three points after St. Lawrence tied Army and beat Princeton last weekend. The Crimson faces lowly Dartmouth at Bright Saturday night, and should add another two points to its total.

But Harvard and St. Lawrence will meet for the first time this season on the fourth day of 1991 at Appleton Arena in a crucial test of the Crimson's ability to win on the road.

The Crimson has been blessed with eight league matchups at home this year, but will start to pay the price in January. The Crimson opens the new year with St. Lawrence and Clarkson, and then travels to the Yale Whale and Brown's Meehan Auditorium before breaking for exams.

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