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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained

Crimson Takes ECAC Title

By David S. Griffel

It's official: the Harvard men's hockey team (18-4-2 overall, 15-2-2 ECAC) has 'three peated' as ECAC regular season champions with its 7-5 win over Rensselaer (16-7-4, 10-5-4) last night coupled with Union's 3-2 victory at Brown.

Sounds like there was a lot of excitement at the Bright Hockey Center last night right?

"Ah, Whatever," forward Perry Cohagen said. "We're going to win the games regardless."

In a game which had a play off atmosphere the second ranked Crimson was good enough to knock off the tenth ranked Engineers.

RPI had one good period. Harvard had on good period. Harvard's good period was better than RPI's.

The match was a defensive nightmare, or better put, an offensive explosion whose outcome wasn't decided until Chris Baird scored into an empty net with 50 seconds left.

The Engineers had the Crimson reeling in the second period outshooting Harvard by a 17-10 count (that's more shots than several teams have had in an entire game against Harvard). The Rensselaer team stepped up its forechecking game and created numerous scoring chances but goalie Tripp Tracy made some spectacular saves.

Also, Harvard forward Steve Martins not once, not twice, but three different times cleared a loose puck away from Tracy's goal crease, and each team only managed one goal.

"We had some good chances to score, but Tracy made some big saves," Engineer Coach Buddy Powers said. "We came out of that second period at 3-3 feeling pretty good about oursevles, but [Harvard] put and end to that at the start of the third."

Something Harvard Coach Ronn Tomassoni said in the Second intermission must have clicked because the Crimson came out flying scoring three goals in the first 6:07.

After an Engineers shot sailed wide of the Harvard net, the Crimson rushed the puck up the ice. Derek Maguire blasted one of his own wide of the RPI net, but Jason Karmanos was waiting for the rebound off the boards and deposited the puck Past Little at 1:07.

Ashlin Halfnight then made a great rush up ice and found Joe Craigen wide-open next toLittle. Craigen deflected the puck in to make it5-3 at the 4:06 mark.

Less than two minutes later, Ben Coughlinrifled a shot top-shelf past Little from closerange to give Harvard a three-goal edge.

"That third line [Coughlin-KirkNielsen-Karmanos] has been scoring some big goalsfor us," Tomassoni said.

Yet RPI came back. Craig Hamelin completed hishat trick at 11:45, and Xavier Majic pulled ahidden puck trick as he deked his away aroundTracy to pull the Engineers to within one with6:28 to go.

In fact, RPI had a three-on-one with less thanfive minutes to go, but defender Lou Body savedthe win by smothering the play.

"The defense has got to take charge backthere," Body said. "RPI has got a really goodteam, and you know we're going to see them again.We just got to correct our mental mistakes ."

The game did feature many defensive breakdowns,Which one wouldn't expect from a match-up betweentwo top-ten teams.

After captain Sean McCann one-timed a pass fromBaird past RPI goalie Neil Little to put Harvardon the board first, the Engineers responded withtwo goals set up by poor Harvard defensive plays.

Hamelin was left all alone on the first goal,and he beat two Crimson players on the second. Thegoals were practically identical, with Hamelinfaking Harvard netminder Tripp Tracy and thenwrapping the puck around the fallen goalie bothtimes.

However, a determined Baird forced an RPIdefensive turnover to get the momentum back onHarvard's side.

The Engineers were unable to clear the puck outof their zone, and Brian Farrell rebounded homeBody's point shot past Little to even the game at2-2 after one period.

Farrell was in the right place at the righttime again on a second period power play, as heswiped a rebound past Little to put Harvard up,3-2.

RPI tied the game at 3-3 on its thirdconsecutive power-play late in the second, butHarvard won the game in the third.

Harvard will host pesky Union tonight at 7:30(the starting time has been moved back from 7:00).

In other action, top-ranked Michigan was upsetby unranked Miami (Ohio), 5-3.CrimsonDavid E. RosenSophomore Crimson goalie TRIPP TRACY makesone of his 16 saves in the second period ofHarvard's 7-5 win over RPI last night. The winclinched the ECAC championship for theCrimson.

Less than two minutes later, Ben Coughlinrifled a shot top-shelf past Little from closerange to give Harvard a three-goal edge.

"That third line [Coughlin-KirkNielsen-Karmanos] has been scoring some big goalsfor us," Tomassoni said.

Yet RPI came back. Craig Hamelin completed hishat trick at 11:45, and Xavier Majic pulled ahidden puck trick as he deked his away aroundTracy to pull the Engineers to within one with6:28 to go.

In fact, RPI had a three-on-one with less thanfive minutes to go, but defender Lou Body savedthe win by smothering the play.

"The defense has got to take charge backthere," Body said. "RPI has got a really goodteam, and you know we're going to see them again.We just got to correct our mental mistakes ."

The game did feature many defensive breakdowns,Which one wouldn't expect from a match-up betweentwo top-ten teams.

After captain Sean McCann one-timed a pass fromBaird past RPI goalie Neil Little to put Harvardon the board first, the Engineers responded withtwo goals set up by poor Harvard defensive plays.

Hamelin was left all alone on the first goal,and he beat two Crimson players on the second. Thegoals were practically identical, with Hamelinfaking Harvard netminder Tripp Tracy and thenwrapping the puck around the fallen goalie bothtimes.

However, a determined Baird forced an RPIdefensive turnover to get the momentum back onHarvard's side.

The Engineers were unable to clear the puck outof their zone, and Brian Farrell rebounded homeBody's point shot past Little to even the game at2-2 after one period.

Farrell was in the right place at the righttime again on a second period power play, as heswiped a rebound past Little to put Harvard up,3-2.

RPI tied the game at 3-3 on its thirdconsecutive power-play late in the second, butHarvard won the game in the third.

Harvard will host pesky Union tonight at 7:30(the starting time has been moved back from 7:00).

In other action, top-ranked Michigan was upsetby unranked Miami (Ohio), 5-3.CrimsonDavid E. RosenSophomore Crimson goalie TRIPP TRACY makesone of his 16 saves in the second period ofHarvard's 7-5 win over RPI last night. The winclinched the ECAC championship for theCrimson.

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