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Catamounts goalie Mike Millham stands 6'3" tall, but the ECAC's second-rated netminder isn't accustomed to letting games slip through his legs.
But he did last night.
Sparked by three "nutmeg" goals between Millham's wickets in the first period, the Harvard men's hockey team pummeled the University of Vermont at Bright Center, 8-2. Firstline wing Mike Vukonich led the charge with a hat trick, keeping the Crimson (7-3 overall, 7-1 ECAC) firmly established in first place in the league.
The senior line of Vukonich, Peter Ciavaglia and Ted Donato accounted for all three five-hole tallies and one goal in the second period, continuing the barrage the trio commenced last weekend.
Forty-eight points would make a season for many lines, but this high-powered triumvirate has piled up this total in four games.
"That's the best line I've seen in a while," Vermont Coach Mike Gilligan said. "We didn't have anyone who could skate with them."
"There can't be too many lines in the country better than this one," Harvard Coach Ronn Tomassoni echoed.
The Vukonich line contributed all the firepowerin the Crimson's 3-1 first-period lead, but by thetime the game was over, all of Tomassoni's skatershad contributed against the stunned Catamounts.
Allain Roy, who entered the game as the bestgoalie in the ECAC--ahead of Millham and fellowCrimson netminder Chuckie Hughes--cemented hisposition at the top. Vermont sent 31 shots at Roy,but only two shots, both from the slot, passed thejunior goaltender.
Last year, Vermont beat Harvard twice in OT,and the Catamounts had won their last fourcontests against the Crimson. This year, Harvardnever allowed the Catamounts--including top pointscorer John LeClair--any hope.
Vermont entered Bright Center with a 5-0-1record in its last six games, the only blemish acontroversial tie in the Yale Whale. But with winsover middling squads like Army, Brown, Middlebury,Princeton and Dartmouth, the Catamounts had notproved themselves. They didn't against theCrimson, either.
Twenty-eight seconds into the game (faster byeight seconds than his season-opening tallyagainst Brown), Donato put a one-handed flickbetween Millham's pads straight off the draw.
After Vermont winger Jim Fernholz tied thegame, 1-1, six minutes into the game, Vukonichworked towards his chapeau. Ciavaglia set his leftwing up twice in succession--first off a steal,and then with a drop pass. Donato assisted on bothBuckneresque goals.
"When they [Ciavaglia and Donato] get the puckon your stick, it's hard not to score," Vukonichsaid.
The forechecking line of Steve Flomenhoft, TimBurke and Scott Barringer took the scoring burdenfor the opening of the second period, withFlomenhoft and Burke each netting one goal. Thesecond tally was typical--after dumping the puck,Barringer dug the puck out of the corner, flippedto Flomenhoft, and Burke tipped Flomenhoft'sslapshot into the twines.
"We get it in deep, dig it out and give it toFlo," Burke said. "He knows what to do with it."
Vukonich earned his hat 12 minutes into theperiod, banging the puck past Millham--on theright side this time. Derek Maguire, playing hisstrongest game of the season at the blue line,kept the play in the zone with aggressive play.
"The first period was not that bad," Gilligansaid. "But the second period was devastating."
The third period was just a denouement, asGilligan replaced Millham with Glen Neary. Leading6-1, the Crimson opened the stanza with sloppyplay, unable to clear the puck.
After Catamounts sophomore Toby Kearney knockedhome Vermont's final goal with nine minutes toplay, Harvard's briefly dormant offense woke up,exploding for two goals within 32 seconds. Theline of sophomore Ted Drury and freshmen MichelBreistroff and Brian Farrell notched both goals.
Farrell, after clearing out the Catamountdefender, received a return pass from Breistroffand drove the puck home, reestablishing theCrimson's five-goal lead at 7-2.
Drury finished off the scoring off across-crease pass from Farrell and an assist fromMaguire.
The Crimson played without indefinitelysidelined forward John Weisbrod and top defenderKevin Sneddon, who was reinjured during theColgate game. Sneddon hopes to return after theChristmas break.
Crimson, 8-2 at Bright Center
Vermont 1-0-1--2HARVARD 3-3-2--8
First Period: 1, H, Ted Donato (MikeVukonich, Peter Ciavaglia) 0:28; 2, V, JimFernholz (David Browne, Tim Fingerhut) 6:08; 3, H,Vukonich (Ciavaglia, Donato) 7:22; 4, Vukonich(Ciavaglia, Donato) 14:17. Penalties--V, TravisLehouiller (hooking) 10:15; H, Brian Farrell(hooking) 11:54.
Second Period: 5, H, Steve Flomenhoft(Tim Burke, Scott Barringer) 1:53; 6, H, Burke(Flomenhoft, Barringer) 9:11; 7, Vukonich(Ciavaglia, Donato) 11:41. Penalties--V, JohnLeClair (roughing) 5:26; H, Vukonich (roughing)5:26; H, Matt Mallgrave (elbowing) 20:00.
Third Period: 8, V, Toby Kearney (JoeMcCarthy, Kevin Monty) 10:48; 9, H, Farrell(Michel Breistroff, Ted Drury) 15:36; 10, H, Drury(Derek Maguire, Farrell) 16:08. Penalties--H, SeanMcCann (interference) 19:55.
Saves:V, Mike Millham 8-8-x--16, GlenNeary x-x-5--5; H, Allain Roy 12-12-5--29.
Power Play: V, 0-3; H, 0-1.
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