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For the second time in three years, Harvard’s prized freshman defenseman was selected to compete for the United States at the International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championships.
And for the second time in three years, an injury is keeping that defenseman home.
Dylan Reese, the standout backliner who impressed with his offensive instincts and special-teams savvy in his first six collegiate games, has not played since Nov. 25 because of a back injury. Sunday night, after consulting with USA Hockey officials, he decided to give up his spot on the roster.
So, instead of playing in tonight’s game at Princeton and flying from New York to Finland with the U.S. team on Thursday, Reese is already home in Pittsburgh, with hopes of returning to full strength in time for the Crimson’s post-Christmas tournament in Providence.
“It’s a tough situation for me,” Reese wrote in an e-mail yesterday. “I really wanted to be there in Finland. I just had back luck with the injury.”
The news comes two years after then-freshman Noah Welch missed the 2002 tournament because of a leg injury.
Reese’s twist of fate is particularly heartrending because he made the team as an underdog. He wasn’t asked to play for the U.S. National Team Developmental Program as a teenager and was a late add to this summer’s tryout camp at Lake Placid, N.Y.
But he impressed coaches enough with his intelligence, work ethic and puck skills to crack the top roster of players under 20 in the U.S. Reese admitted last week that his selection “came as a shock.”
After Harvard’s 5-3 win over Massachusetts on Saturday, Reese was “confident” that he would play.
His recurring back injury, though, will keep him from pulling a red, white and blue sweater over his head.
Michigan freshman defenseman Matt Hunwick will take Reese’s place. Ironically, when Welch was forced to stay behind in 2002, another Wolverine—Eric Nystrom—took his place.
The tournament is scheduled for Dec. 26, 2003-Jan. 5, 2004 in Helsinki and Hameenlinna, Finland. No ECAC players are participating.
Paint The League Crimson
The Harvard men’s and women’s teams combined for a rare sweep of the ECAC player of the week and goaltender of the week awards, released yesterday.
Angela Ruggiero was named women’s player of the week after notching five points in three games last week, to go along with her steady-as-always play at the blue line in the Crimson’s three-point weekend at Minnesota-Duluth. Charlie Johnson received the same honor after scoring Harvard’s first goal at Boston College and popping two more in Saturday’s win over Massachusetts.
On the other end, junior Dov Grumet-Morris and sophomore Ali Boe have excelled between the pipes. Grumet-Morris, 1-1 last week, is playing arguably the best hockey of his career and has the nation’s third-best save percentage (.935) and fifth-best goals-against average (1.80).Meanwhile, Boe (8-0-1, five shutouts) earned a tie and a win out of her busiest nights as a collegiate goaltender (28 and 31 saves on Friday and Saturday nights, respectively). She leads the nation with a 0.66 GAA and a .961 save percentage.
Last year, the Crimson was 0-7-1 against NCAA tournament teams. Thus far, Harvard is 2-1 when playing ranked teams (wins over Boston University and Massachusetts; loss to Boston College) and is 1-3-1 against teams currently in the USCHO.com Top 15 (win over Massachusetts; losses to BC, Brown, and Cornell; tie against Dartmouth).
Wednesday’s game at Boston College and Saturday’s home date with Massachusetts represented the 10th time since the inception of Hockey East in 1984 that Harvard played schools from that league in back-to-back games. Harvard has yet to sweep one of those two-game sets.
—Staff writer Jon Paul Morosi can be reached at email@example.com.
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