Harvard alumni often end up competing in many fields post-graduation. Recently, there was the rift between Conan O’Brien ’85 and Jeff Zucker ’86 at NBC. Shortly thereafter came the 2010 Massachusetts gubernatorial race between Deval Patrick ’78 and Charlie Baker ’79. And there was even the competition for best picture at the Oscars this year between Natalie Portman ‘03’s Black Swan and Matt Damon (class of 1992)’s True Grit, both of which fell to The King's Speech.
Professional sports is not usually one of the arenas in which Harvard grads go head-to-head. But this season’s NHL first round playoff series between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Pittsburgh Penguins featured a battle between two former Crimson hockey players, Craig Adams '99 and Dominic Moore '03.
Wednesday night, Moore’s fifth-seeded Lightning eked out a 1-0 shutout victory in Game 7 of the series against Adams’ fourth-seeded Penguins. It was Moore’s improvised, no-look misdirection assist from behind the net on Sean Bergenheim’s game-winning second-period goal that gave Tampa Bay the win.
On the winning score, Adams was responsible for defending his former Harvard alumnus. After Moore pulled Adams away from the net, Bergenheim was left open, and Moore hit him with a perfect pass.
"I thought I held the short side post long enough," Adams told the St. Petersberg Times. "I held it for a second, then saw [Moore] was going behind the net. Obviously I didn't hold it long enough."
Moore played a major role in Tampa Bay’s series win after it fell behind, 3 games to 1. The former Crimson star had an assist and a goal in Saturday’s 8-2 Lightning victory in Game 5 and an assist in Tampa Bay’s 4-2 win in Game 6 before dishing off the game-winning pass last night.
While playing for the Montreal Canadians last season, the center had key goals in game seven victories over the Penguins and Washington Capitals during the squad’s playoff run.
“As a player, you look forward to playing in big games,” the center told Tampa Bay Online. “You want to be playing your best at the right time of year.”
The clutch performances have gained Moore a reputation as a big-game player around the league.
“He wants the pressure,” Lightning coach Guy Boucher told the paper. “He loves it. In big moments, he doesn’t back down.”
At Harvard, Moore had one of the most successful careers in Crimson hockey history. The center won Ivy League Rookie of the Year in 2000, was named a First Team All-American in 2003, and was deemed a member of the ECAC All-Decade Team from 2000-09. The Toronto native played with his two older brothers during his freshman season—after which he was drafted by the New York Rangers in the third round (95th overall) of the 2000 draft—and ended his career tenth on Harvard's all-time scoring list with 64 goals.
Since tallying three assists in his NHL debut with the Rangers in 2003, Moore has bounced around and had stints with the Penguins, Minnesota Wild, Toronto Maple Leafs, Buffalo Sabres, and Canadiens before joining the Lightning in 2010. The veteran had a successful regular season with Tampa Bay, appearing in 77 games and finishing with 32 points on 18 goals and 14 assists.
Adams performed well throughout the series as well, scoring Pittsburgh’s lone goal in the Lightning’s 5-1 Game 2 win. Fox News went so far as to call the performance of the right wing’s fourth line during the series “remarkable.”
The right wing was the ninth-round pick of the Hartford Whalers (223rd overall) in the 1996 NHL Draft, giving him the distinction of being the last player ever drafted by the former franchise. The right wing finished out his remaining three years of eligibility with the Crimson, completing his Harvard career with 29 goals and 33 assists before joining the Carolina Hurricanes in 2000.
Since college, Adams has been a part of some of the NHL’s best teams. After a brief stint with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, Adams returned to the Hurricanes in 2005 and was a member of the 2006 Carolina team that won the Stanley Cup. After being traded to the Chicago Blackhawks in 2008, Adams was claimed by the Penguins the same year and won his second Stanley Cup with the team last season.
In 2010-11, Adams appeared in 80 games for Pittsburgh, serving as an alternate captain and tallying 4 goals and 11 assists for 15 points.
Together, Moore and Adams make up half of Harvard’s representation in the NHL. The other Crimson alumni are defensemen Noah Welch ’05 of the Atlanta Thrashers and Dylan Reese ’07 of the New York Islanders.
But for now, after some Game 7 dramatics, it is only Moore who gets to play another day.