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ECAC Tourney Down to the Final Four

Upset Winner Harvard Joins Vermont, Clarkson and Cornell at Lake Placid, N.Y.

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

And then there were four.

The ECAC Tournament began last week with 10 teams having a shot at winning the crown. Now six of them can watch the rest on television.

Three of the top four seeds advanced through the quarterfinals with relative ease: No. 1 Vermont, No. 2 Clarkson and No. 4 Cornell.

And then there was the surprise team of the weekend: No. 6 Harvard, a team that broke a nine-game losing streak en route to a 2-1 series victory over third-seeded St. Lawrence at Appleton Arena in Canton, N.Y. this past weekend.

The Crimson received solid performances from just about everyone at every position. But perhaps most important was the play of senior goaltender Tripp Tracy.

Tracy's performances were nothing short of outstanding, as his level of play matched that of his vintage freshman season when he was the ECAC's top goaltender.

In Friday night's 5-2 Harvard win, Tracy blocked 25 of 27 St. Lawrence shots in the first two periods to secure a 2-2 tie entering the third period.

While the next night saw Harvard drop a 3-2 heartbreaker, Tracy was nothing short of magnificent. The senior only allowed one goal in a first period in which Harvard was hideously outshot, 14-2. In that period, Tracy also made his 2,000th career save, becoming only the third Crimson netminder ever to crack that mark.

Tracy wasn't as busy in Harvard's series-clinching 8-4 win on Sunday, but he made the big saves when he had to, never allowing the Saints within two goals over the last 36:30 of the game.

If Tracy was the iron man denying goals, sophomore Henry Higdon was the equivalent in terms of scoring them (see story, this page). Higdon kept the goal judge busy in the three games, as he scored five goals, including both game-winners, and assisted on another.

Tracy and Higdon both made this week's ECAC Honor Roll, and freshman Ben Storey earned ECAC Rookie of the Week honors. Storey notched Harvard's fourth goal on Friday and assisted on three tallies Sunday night. Storey is the fourth Harvard freshman to win the award this year, joining Craig Adams (11/6 and 1/15), Mike Bent (11/20) and Rob Millar (2/5).

Another milestone occurred Sunday night, as Harvard coach Ronn Tomassoni recorded his 100th victory behind the Crimson bench. The skipper is 100-63-19 (.602) in his six seasons behind the Harvard bench.

Cats Claw Engineers

Top-seeded Vermont earned its trip to Lake Placid with 5-2 and 6-4 wins over Rensselaer, eliminating last season's ECAC Tournament champions.

Juniors Martin St. Louis (one goal, six assists) and Eric Perrin (two goals, four assists) were the biggest reasons why the Catamounts are headed to the ECAC Final Four for the first time since 1989.

Vermont will face Harvard at 4 p.m. in Friday's first semifinal contest. The contest can be seen on tape-delay Saturday at noon on SportsChannel, which will also show Saturday's 4 p.m. championship live.

RPI had eliminated Dartmouth in a preliminary round contest a week ago Tuesday. Senior Jon Pirrong's goal 16:14 into overtime lifted the Engineers to a 5-4 victory.

Big Red Routs Raiders

Cornell destroyed its travel partner, Colgate, in two blow-out victories at Lynah Rink in Ithaca, N.Y., winning by 8-3 and 8-1 counts.

Brad Chartrand scored twice in each game, earning ECAC Player of the Week honors. Mike Sancimino posted a six-point evening on Friday, scoring twice and assisting on four others.

Australian goalie Jason Elliott was nearly impenetrable in goal, stopping 52 of 56 shots.

Cornell will face Clarkson in Friday's second semifinal at 7 p.m.

Knights Vanquish Bears

The ECAC's second seed, Clarkson, had little trouble sweeping Brown with 5-2 and 5-3 victories.

Brown reached the quarterfinals with a 4-3 win over Princeton in a preliminary round game, but it couldn't do much on either end of the ice against a very talented Clarkson squad.

Golden Knight senior Todd White scored two goals and assisted on five others, while junior Jean-Francois Houle racked up five goals and one assist in the sweep.

Brown lost eight of its last nine games at the end of its season, while Clarkson has not lost in its last 12 contests, going 11-0-1.

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