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Notes From the Front

JV Sports

By Jay K. Varma

Harvard Coach Ronn Tomassoni said he was "pleased" with last night's results, and few in the Harvard men's hockey team's locker room seemed overly somber after the tie.

But no matter how you cut it--and Harvard did play a solid game, something it hasn't donein in most of its recent outings--tonight's result makes the Crimson 6-2-2 in its last 10 games.

To the NCAA tournament committee, which bases its seedings in part on a team's recent performance, that statistic is not terribly impressive.

Barring a catastrophe tonight or in the ECAC playoffs, Harvard will not likely be ranked higher than third in the East when the NCAA tournament arrives.

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Standings Shifting: Brown insured itself home-ice in the playoffs last night, after knocking off St. Lawrence, 5-2, in Providence. The Bears now have 28 points, and host fourth-place Clarkson (26 points) tonight.

Yale seems to have shot itself in the foot for the ECAC playoffs (and the NCAA tournament). The Elis lost against last night, this time 3-2 to second-place Rensselaer (30 points) in New Haven. The battle for the last spot in the playoffs is between Clarkson, Yale and St. Lawrence. A win by the Elis tonight against Union would guarantee them a spot.

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Reshuffling Lines: After re-shuffling the lines last Saturday against Vermont, Harvard Coach Ronn Tomassoni moved most of his players back to their original spots last night--except for seniors Steve Flomenhoft and Matt Mallgrave.

The two, normally on the second-line, were bumped to four Saturday and stayed that way last night, according to the official line-sheet. But Tomassoni didn't obey the official listing: the Mallgrave-Flomen-hoft-Kirk Neilsen line was the first line to sub in. So much for the reshuffling.

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Smart Play?: Harvard is generally known for its smart play, its ability to stay out of the penalty box. While Clarkson racked up four penalties in the first period, the referees didn't blow the whistle once on the Crimson until 8:56 of the second period.

And then it was only to please Clarkson Coach Mark Morris. Harvard junior defender Sean McCann was mysteriously called for interference after checking a Clarkson player who had just touched the puck.

That penalty didn't bode well for the Crimson, which donned the dunce-caps mid-way through the third period. Harvard was nabbed for too many men on the ice, when all 10,000 men seemed to be skating in force. Against Clarkson, which features the fourth best power-play in the nation, nothing could have been worse. The Golden Knights took the 4-3 lead 58 seconds into the power-play, when Marko Tuomainen slapped in a shot off a face-off.

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Big and Strong: One of Clarkson's strengths is its strength. Last night it forced Harvard to make due with only first-chance opporunties, as Clarkson consistently boxed out around the net and cleared out the rebounds.

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