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Men's Hockey Marching in on Saints

Icemen Set to Take on St. Lawrence in the Quarterfinals of ECAC Tournament

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

It's finally here. Turn on the Rocky anthem and buckle in because the Harvard men's hockey team is off to St. Lawrence for the quarterfinal round of the ECAC Tournament.

In light of the Crimson's recent nine-game losing streak, however, many Harvard hockey followers are finding it harder than usual to explode with excitement over the team's chances. Heck, even the St. Lawrence campus is taking the Crimson more lightly than usual.

"It really isn't that bad having to play Harvard," St. Lawrence senior Kevin Todd said.

Even though this is only the second time in the last 15 years that Harvard does not have home-ice advantage in the tournament, ofansshouldn't count the team out just yet. Despite the month-long winless streak, the Crimson has been playing solid hockey; it just can't seem to get that break.

Forgetting a moment about the lackluster performance at Dartmouth last Friday (a 5-1 loss), Harvard has blatantly outplayed some of the top teams in the league. In five out of the nine losses, the Crimson has outshot its opponents. And the fresh offensive faces of freshman Rob Millar and sophomore Henry Higdon have blossomed in recent games.

Millar went through an unbelievable five-game streak in February where he racked up six goals and five assists, while Higdon has been on an offensive rampage of his own, scoring both of Harvard's goals last weekend.

So what's the problem? The tandem of Millar and Higdon has not been able to carry the team's offensive load. Earlier in the year, the senior line of captain Brad Konik, Kirk Nielsen and Tommy Holmes produced Harvard's top three scorers, but they have not been contributing lately.

So far in 1996, the trio has collected only two goals. Since then, Harvard has posted a dismal 4-11-0 record.

Nonetheless, things are looking better for the Crimson. In its last outing--though it didn't win--the Crimson outplayed ECAC champion Vermont.

"I thought Harvard did a great job in the first two periods neutralizing us," Vermont head coach Mike Gilligan said. "Although the score was not indicative, I thought that they outplayed us in the first two [periods], and they can be a team to watch in the playoffs."

Harvard is going to need to play on all four cylinders this weekend. St. Lawrence boasts an impressive 10-3-2 home ice record and is led by captain Burke Murphy (54 points) and sophomore Paul DiFrancesco (52 points).

In paticular, Murphy will be a force to reckon with since he not only leads the nation in goals per game (32 netters in 32 games), but he also scored 11 out of his 23 league goals at home.

"We've had a good year, and we've got a chance to make it a great one," St. Lawrence coach Joe Marsh said. "We've earned one of our goals in that we are home for the quarterfinals; now we'll take the rest one step at a time."

In the last clash of these two titans at Appleton Arena in December, Murphy tacked on a goal and an assist in the Saints' crushing 7-3 defeat of the Crimson.

The second meeting was a different story, although the end result was the same. Back in the friendly confines of Bright Hockey Center, Harvard bombarded St. Lawrence goaltender Clint Owen with 42 shots and almost overcame a 5-2 third period deficit before falling, 5-4.

"The team has been playing the last four weeks with guts and courage, tenacity and intensity," Harvard coach Ronn Tomassoni said. "I just believe that it will turn, and if we have this effort [against St. Lawrence] I feel real good about our chances."

While finishing a strong third in the ECAC and boasting the second-best power play in the league (scoring 26.1 percent of the time), the Saints do have weak points.

St. Lawrence is most recently coming off a devastating weekend, which cost it the ECAC crown when it tied Colgate (2-2) and fell to Cornell (5-4). Owen and backup goaltender Jon Bracco were shellacked with 71 shots throughout the weekend.

"We definitely did not have one of our best games against Cornell," Murphy said. "But we've been waiting a couple of years to be in this position, so we want to really turn things around."

In addition, the Saints are merely rookies when it comes to playoff experience. They have only 22 ECAC Tournament appearances, whereas the Crimson has waltzed to the tournament 28 times.

Plus, although Owen is a decent goaltender, he is not at the same caliber as Boston College's Greg Taylor, Clarkson's Dan Murphy and Vermont's Tim Thomas.

Considering that the Crimson has already racked up eight goals in its two games against the Saints this year, Harvard has proven that it can find daylight in between the goalie's pads.

"Harvard is a young team which ran into some misfortune late in the season," Marsh said. "They are as dangerous a team as you could want to meet in the playoffs, particularly considering our track record against them."

So it has come down to the final round. All statistics, prior records and predictions aside, it is now a street fight between two teams who have a lot to prove.

Both teams are all alone in the ring. The only question remaining is: Which will be the last one standing?

HARVARD

Head Coach: Ronn Tomassoni Captain: Brad Konik Record: 10-18-1 ECAC Record (Place): 9-12-1 (6th) Road Record: 5-8-1 Last Meeting: St. Lawrence, 5-4 Series History: Harvard, 28-22-2 ECAC Tourney Titles: 5 Leading Scorer: Konik (33 points)

ST. LAWRENCE

Head Coach: Joe Marsh Captain: Burke Murphy Record: 19-10-3 ECAC Record (Place): 15-4-3 (3rd) Home Record: 10-3-2 Home Arena: Appleton (Canton, NY) ECAC Playoffs vs. Harvard: 1-1-0 ECAC Tourney Titles: 3 Leading Scorer: Murphy (54 points) 1995-96 SAINTS STATS Player  GP  G  A  Pt  PP  PM Burke Murphy  32  32  22  54  11  32 Paul DiFrancesco  32  15  37  52  7  60 Derek Ladouceur  30  6  33  39  5  16 Derek McLaughlin  32  9  16  25  1  32 Scott Stevens  32  13  12  25  0  14 Jeff Kungle  31  10  13  23  7  36 Matt Oikawa  31  9  9  18  2  18 Troy Creurer  32  2  14  16  1  24 Bob Prier  29  9  6  15  0  27 Ryan Cassidy  29  6  8  14  2  34 Thomas Cullen  32  5  9  14  4  78 John Poapst  32  4  10  14  0  48 Shawn Allard  24  4  10  14  0  10 Joel Prpic  29  3  9  12  0  75 Pat Dennehy  32  3  6  9  0  10 Scott Murphy  17  1  5  6  0  16 Chris Deshney  30  0  5  5  0  18 Ken Ruddock  27  0  5  5  0  64 Mark McGrath  30  4  0  4  0  12 Alex Gordon  5  1  1  2  0  0 Clint Owen  20  0  1  1  0  0 Steve Polanish  7  0  0  0  0  4 Eric Heffler  4  0  0  0  0  0 Jon Bracco  15  0  0  0  0  0 St. Lawrence  32  136  231  367  40  634 Opponents  32  119  184  303  47  560 Goalle  GP  W  L  T  GAA  Sv% Clint Owen  20  8  7  3  3.72  .890 Jon Bracco  15  11  3  0  3.54  .888 Eric Heffler  4  0  0  0  3.27  .864 St. Lawrence  32  19  10  3  3.69  .887 Opponents  32  10  19  3  4.21  .868

1995-96 CRIMSON STATS Player  GP  G  A  Pt  PP  PM Brad Konik  26  10  23  33  1  14 Kirk Nielsen  26  10  13  23  2  34 Tommy Holmes  25  5  15  20  2  14 Henry Hidgon  25  11  8  19  5  19 Jason Karmanos  29  8  10  18  0  22 Craig MacDonald  29  6  10  16  5  8 Craig Adams  29  6  8  14  4  36 Jeremiah McCarthy  27  2  10  12  1  18 Rob Millar  15  6  5  11  2  0 Ashlln Halfnight  25  2  8  10  0  12 Stuart Swenson  29  3  6  9  0  30 Ethan Philpott  29  5  3  8  1  35 Peter McLaughlin  26  2  6  8  1  20 Ben Storey  28  1  7  8  0  40 Mike Bent  13  5  2  7  4  4 Joe Craigen  29  4  1  5  0  16 Ethan Oberman  28  0  5  5  0  18 Clayton Rodgers  12  2  1  3  0  14 Marco Ferrari  17  0  3  3  0  10 Geb Marett  8  2  0  2  0  8 Brian Famigletti  14  0  2  2  0  6 Doug Sproule  11  1  0  1  0  6 Geordie Hyland  20  0  1  1  0  16 Brian Adams  1  0  1  1  0  4 Jason Sutherland  1  0  0  0  0  0 Peter Zakowich  6  0  0  0  0  0 Tripp Tracy  25  0  0  0  0  0 Harvard  29  91  148  239  28  404 Opponents  29  100  156  256  32  426 Goalle  GP  W  L  T  GAA  Sv% Tripp Tracy  25  7  16  1  3.28  .880 Peter Zakowich  6  3  2  0  3.87  .876 Harvard  29  10  18  1  3.43  .877 Opponents  29  18  10  1  3.12  .895

1995-96 CRIMSON STATS Player  GP  G  A  Pt  PP  PM Brad Konik  26  10  23  33  1  14 Kirk Nielsen  26  10  13  23  2  34 Tommy Holmes  25  5  15  20  2  14 Henry Hidgon  25  11  8  19  5  19 Jason Karmanos  29  8  10  18  0  22 Craig MacDonald  29  6  10  16  5  8 Craig Adams  29  6  8  14  4  36 Jeremiah McCarthy  27  2  10  12  1  18 Rob Millar  15  6  5  11  2  0 Ashlln Halfnight  25  2  8  10  0  12 Stuart Swenson  29  3  6  9  0  30 Ethan Philpott  29  5  3  8  1  35 Peter McLaughlin  26  2  6  8  1  20 Ben Storey  28  1  7  8  0  40 Mike Bent  13  5  2  7  4  4 Joe Craigen  29  4  1  5  0  16 Ethan Oberman  28  0  5  5  0  18 Clayton Rodgers  12  2  1  3  0  14 Marco Ferrari  17  0  3  3  0  10 Geb Marett  8  2  0  2  0  8 Brian Famigletti  14  0  2  2  0  6 Doug Sproule  11  1  0  1  0  6 Geordie Hyland  20  0  1  1  0  16 Brian Adams  1  0  1  1  0  4 Jason Sutherland  1  0  0  0  0  0 Peter Zakowich  6  0  0  0  0  0 Tripp Tracy  25  0  0  0  0  0 Harvard  29  91  148  239  28  404 Opponents  29  100  156  256  32  426 Goalle  GP  W  L  T  GAA  Sv% Tripp Tracy  25  7  16  1  3.28  .880 Peter Zakowich  6  3  2  0  3.87  .876 Harvard  29  10  18  1  3.43  .877 Opponents  29  18  10  1  3.12  .895

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