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Icemen Roll Over Tigers in Game 1, 6-2

Fourth Line the Key: Karmanos Notches Hat Trick, Gustafson Tallies Four Assists

By Jay K. Varma

Those who had been denied--A Harvard men's hockey team waiting to step on a team of smaller stature than it, an offense waiting to punch in the pucks that had been floating through the slot game after game and the hard workers, waiting for all that hard work to produce something more than tears--got their due last night in Bright Hockey Center.

There was no more waiting.

Behind gargantuan efforts from the players Harvard needed--but didn't expect production from--the top-seeded Crimson cruised past tenth-seeded Princeton, 6-2, and took the first two points of the best-of-three-points ECAC quarterfinals.

Down 1-0 in the second period, Harvard pumped in six goals over two periods as freshman Jason Karmanos turned a hat-trick with three goals. Sophomore Cory Gustafson added four assists and a whole raucous cast of unsung heroes sang sweet lullabies to Princeton for the final 40 minutes.

As expected, the mood of this chorus was festive last night in the locker room, with the united laughs of victory and luscious, melodious Metallica booming out a portable stereo.

"That's the most zip we've had all night," an elated Coach Ronn Tomassoni said after the game. "That's the most zip since Yale. You could see it in practice this week. We'd been getting a bit stale."

This was only the second time since January 9 that the Crimson topped the six-goal mark, and one of the few times this season it tipped in five even-strength goals.

And it was the first time anyone on the fourth line had a hat trick or four assists.

"Some days it's going to happen like that," said senior Steve Flomenhoft, who assisted on Harvard's second goal. "There can be a bounce this way or that and the Drury line may not always score. But that's the mark of a good team, when everybody's making a contribution."

Harvard plays Princeton again tonight at 7 p.m. If it begins the way it did last night, this team is heading to Lake Placid, N.Y., for the ECAC Final Four.

Fighting Fiercely

Within the first two minutes of play, Harvard sophomore defender Bryan Lonsinger knocked the helmet off a Princeton player, and everyone on the ice was slipping and sliding. The Crimson came out doing what it wanted to do, forechecking at every possible turn, but came up empty, as the Tigers cleared out the zone and benefited from some fancy flopping by senior goalie Craig Fiander.

After a woeful power-play at 7:58, Harvard took advantage of its next man-up opportunity at 12:16, pelting Fiander in the closing seconds, as Captain Ted Drury, junior Chris Baird and junior Brian Farrell all unloaded hard shots. Fiander turned them all aside.

Harvard continued to pound away in the second--on both the players and the net--but Princeton's confidence grew with every puck cleared out of the zone and every retaliatory check. Then, intense junior Troy Ewanchyna, the first player to race around the ice after the "Star-Spangled Banner" before the first period, did what he had dreamed of, sticking a breakaway shot by Harvard goalie Aaron Israel's glove-side hand and silencing the crowd.

In came the vision of another home loss. In came the vision of ECAC quarterfinals past. In came visions of no tournament glory.

But with the arrival of those arrived another package of Harvard players who've been denied in the past three games.

First came freshman Jason Karmanos, who began the game with a measly five points. He charged the net and slipped in a right side rebound at 8:00.

Then came senior Matt Mallgrave, who, by his own admission, had slumped a bit in the past two games. He punched in a cross-ice pass from Flomenhoft at 14:17.

Karmanos Again

And then came Karmanos again, bringing in French partner defenseman Michel Breistroff and his team-low three points. The Mather junior keyed a scramble in front of the net that led to Karmanos's second tally of the night at 18:02 and Harvard's 3-1 lead heading into the third period.

To keep the score at 3-1, though, did not fit the occasion. Junior defender Sean McCann--who also scored just five points all season--powered a painful slap shot from the left side into the net at 1:01.

With the fourth line continuing to fight and fight, sophomore Perry Cohagan--who'd been humilated with a stick to the face against St. Lawrence--did some humiliating, stuffing a loose puck past a confused Fiander at 4:07 to push the score to 5-1.

Princeton came together to prevent the blowout, as senior Keith Merkler dumped a garbage goal past Israel at 18:41.

At the point, a hat-trick for Karmanos seemed an elusive goal, but Tomasoni sent in his fourth-line workers again to collect their due. Shot after shot and no goal came, until 19:20, as the freshman staked his position by the left post and flicked in a freshman Peter McLaughlin rebound.

Hats aplenty flew onto the ice for Karmonos--he wasn't to be denied. HARVARD, 6-2 at Bright Hockey Center Princeton  0  1  1  -  2 Harvard  0  3  3  -  6

First Period

No scoring

Second Period

Prin--Ewanchyna (Sharp. O'Brien) 6:41.

Har--Karmanos (Cohagan, Gustafson) 8:00.

Har--Mallgrave (Flomenhoft, Holmes) 14:17.

Har--Karmanos (Breistroff Gustafson) 18:02.

Third Period

Har--McCann (Baird Flomenhoft) 1:01.

Har--Cohagan (McCann, Gustafson) 4:07.

Prin--Merkler (Zilinsks Ewanchyna) 18:41.

Har--Karmanos (McLaughin Gustafson) 19:20.

Saves: Har--Israel 3-4-6-13: Prin--Flander 8-5-10-23.

First Period

No scoring

Second Period

Prin--Ewanchyna (Sharp. O'Brien) 6:41.

Har--Karmanos (Cohagan, Gustafson) 8:00.

Har--Mallgrave (Flomenhoft, Holmes) 14:17.

Har--Karmanos (Breistroff Gustafson) 18:02.

Third Period

Har--McCann (Baird Flomenhoft) 1:01.

Har--Cohagan (McCann, Gustafson) 4:07.

Prin--Merkler (Zilinsks Ewanchyna) 18:41.

Har--Karmanos (McLaughin Gustafson) 19:20.

Saves: Har--Israel 3-4-6-13: Prin--Flander 8-5-10-23.

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