Icemen's 3rd Period Beats RPI, 6-3

Five Goals In Final Frame Catapult Team Into Fourth-Place ECAC Tie

TROY, N.Y.--Harvard men's hockey coach Ronn Tomassoni returned from last weekend's Colgate-Cornell road trip a happy man. With two road ties, the first-year coach thought that the Crimson had finally become a hockey team.

But Tomassoni still had a monkey on his back. Despite Harvard's strong play against the Big Red and Red Raiders, the Crimson still hadn't notched a subtantial road win--Army and Dartmouth don't count.

Last night, here at Houston Field House, the gaping simian finally left the young coach's back. The pebble finally dislodged from his black tennis shoe. The Crimson scored five final-period goals, coming back from a 3-1 deficit to beat Rensselaer, 6-3, in a critical ECAC contest.

It was Harvard hockey pure and simple. Strong defense held the fiery Engineers attack at bay, while the Crimson offense took care of itself in the final period.

With the win, Harvard moved up to a fourth-place tie with the Engineers in the ECAC standings, and kept alive home-ice hopes for the first round of the league playoff. The top four teams in the league open at home on March 1.


"We knew we had to come back," senior Peter Ciavaglia said. "We had to turn it on or we'd be back here [Troy, N.Y.] or at St. Lawrence or Clarkson after the season."

And thanks to another miracle last night, the Crimson's hopes of winning a 10th straight Ivy title were kept alive. Brown knocked off Cornell, 3-0, in Providence, R.I. A Princeton win over Brown next weekend would give Harvard the title outright.

Mike Vukonich notched his third hat trick of the season and his career, completing the trey with two empty net goals in the final minute of the game. But the senior standout will take what he can get.

Ciavaglia also continued his quest for an ECAC scoring record with his three assists.

Harvard's young defense held the Engineers attack--which netted eight goals at Bright Center on December 8--scoreless for the final 35 minutres of the game. Neither Joe Juneau, who entered the game the country's leading scorer, nor Bruce Coles, who entered the game the nation's leading goon, scored a goal.

Crimson netminder Allain Roy was stellar between the twines with 31 saves.

Final Period Flurry

At the opening of the third period, two quick Harvard goals expediently erased the Rensselaer advantage. At 1:17 into the frame, Ted Donato tallied on a slap shot in the final second of a power play, while sophomore Matt Mallgrave scored from low angle 50 seconds later to tie the score at three.

Mallgrave's goal was the first Crimson even-strength tally in nearly three games. And it was no surprise the game-winner came on the Crimson's man-up play. When Juneau went to the box for slashing, Ciavaglia gave a beautiful cross-crease pass to Vukonich, who stuffed the puck home at 9:47. Crimson, 6-3 in Troy, N.Y. HARVARD  1-0-5--6 Renssalear  2-1-0--3

First Period: 1, Rensselaer, Gary Woolford 12 (Kevin Bassella, Ivan Moore) 2:14; 2, RPI, Derek DeCosty 24 (Mickey Leblanc, Xavier Majic) 5:31; 3, HARVARD, Ted Drury 13 (Mike Vukonich, Ted Donato) 15:01 (pp). Penalties: RPI, Tim Roberts (holding) 8:08; H, Drury (tripping) 8:39; RPI, Allen Kummu (high-sticking) 14:41; H, Steve Flomenhoft (roughing) 15:58; RPI, Todd Hilditch (roughing) 15:58; H, Tim Burke (flashing), 18:34; RPI, LeBlanc (hooking) 18:34; RPI, Stephane Robitaille (hooking) 18:57.

Second Period: 4, RPI, DeCosty 25 (LeBlanc, Joe Juneau) 4:48 (pp). Penalties: H, Donato (holding) 3:32; RPI, Majic (holding) 8:37; H, Brian Farrell (interference) 13:44; RPI, Hilditch (high-sticking) 19:17.

Third Period: 5, H, Donato 14 (Peter Ciavaglia, Derek Maguire) 1:17 (pp); 6, H, Matt Mallgrave 4 (Flomenhoft, Kevin Sneddon) 2:07; 7, H, Vukonich 28 (Ciavaglia, Drury) 9:47; 8, H, Vukonich 29 (Ciavaglia, Mallgrave) 18:50; 9, H, Vukonich 30 (Rich DeFreitas) 19:29. Penalties: RPI, Brad Layzell (holding) 5:47; RPI, Juneau (flashing) 8:45; H, Sean McCann (elbowing) 10:28; H, Farrell (holding) 13:11; RPI, DeCosty (hooking) 14:40.

Saves: H--Allain Roy 8-14-9--31; RPI--Neil Little 4-11-10--25.

Power Play: Harvard 3-8; Rensselaer 1-5

Attendance: 4506

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