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The Harvard Yard kiosks may soon be covered with posters asking if anyone knows how to play hockey defense, and Associate Coach Ronn Tomasoni of the Harvard men's hockey team may begin scouting for blue-liners at house intramural games.
Well, maybe not. But after Brian Popiel's knee injury in last night's opening round Beanpot game, the Crimson squad is left with only four healthy defenders going into its toughest weekend of the season.
Harvard was already a little short on defense when Kevan Melrose's eligibility expired at the end of first semester, forcing Coach Bill Cleary to move forward Tod Hartje back to the point. Then, first-line defenseman Scott McCormack hyperextended his knee in last Friday's game at Army.
To make matters worse, Popiel banged his knee while checking a Northeastern forward during Monday night's second period. Team doctors examined the senior's knee during intermission and allowed him to play in the game's final period, but Popiel said the knee was slightly swollen and very stiff when he woke up yesterday morning.
"If I sit down a long time, it takes a while to get going again," said Popiel, who has had surgery on the same knee in the past and currently wears a brace on it.
Team doctors are scheduled to re-examine the knee today, and as far as playing against league-leading Cornell and Colgate goes, Popiel said he is going to take things "day by day."
A Quiet Teddy D.: After being sidelined for over two months this season with a broken collarbone, forward Ted Donato returned to the Crimson lineup for last Friday's game at Princeton. While Donato recorded a goal and an assist in his first game back, the NCAA tournament MVP was held pointless against Army the following night and against Northeastern in the Beanpot.
Donato's absence from the Beanpot scoring sheets was a bit surprising. The junior forward, with four goals and six assists, has recorded more points in the Boston tournament than any other member of the Crimson squad.
"Personally, it's a bit disappointing to not figure prominently in the scoring," Donato said. "I was more happy with the way the team did."
Goal of the Week: Mike Vukonich's game-winner against Northeastern.
The junior forward's team-leading 41st point ofthe season couldn't have come at a better time.With 21 seconds left in regulation and the gametied, 4-4, Vukonich stuffed linemate John Murphy'scrossing pass home, sending Harvard to its secondstraight Beanpot final.
Players of the Week:Offense: PeterCiavaglia. The junior forward, who in season'spast has been a big assist man, scored goals inall three games in the Crimson's long weekend.Ciavaglia had one goal against Princeton, brokethe Army game wide open with two tallies, and tiedthe Beanpot final with a crucial third-periodgoal.
"I've been putting the puck into the net, butthe assists aren't there," said Ciavaglia, who hasrecorded 16 goals for Harvard this season, secondonly to Captain C.J. Young. "I seem to bereversing roles. I'll have to start giving [JohnWeisbrod] a few more."
Defense: Rich DeFreitas. The sophomoreblue-liner had his best defensive weekend of theseason, then saved the Crimson in the Beanpot.Four minutes into the third period, Northeasternforward Matt Saunders skated wide of a chargingChuckie Hughes and unleashed a shot towards theHarvard net. DeFrietas dislodged the net from theice, nullifying what would have been a game-tyingHuskie goal.
DeFrietas went to the penalty box for his slyploy, but it was two minutes which were well worthit.
Get em' While You Can:Tickets forHarvard's games this weekend against Colgate andCornell are sold out. And tickets for nextMonday's Beanpot final? Forget about it. Buttickets for this March's ECAC tournament, which goon sale in early March at Harvard, can already bepurchased at the Garden ticket office
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