December 9, 2004
Exam Time
Harvard gets a pre-finals test this weekend against Colgate and Cornell

By Joe Gladziszewski

 ECACHL Notebook

Noah Welch and Harvard host Colgate and Cornell this weekend.

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It’s not hard to figure out that Harvard’s got a lot on its plate this weekend, when Colgate and Cornell visit the Bright Hockey Center. Check the national rankings, where all three teams are in the top-15. Examine the ECACHL standings, where the Central New York-based schools are chasing Harvard with four games in hand. Or look at the early-season results, when Cornell and Colgate convincingly sent Harvard home without a point in early-November.

The importance of the series isn’t lost on coach Ted Donato and his players who know that a strong performance now is vital to the team’s future aspirations.

“If you look at the standings, these games are extremely important because we’re going into a long period of time when we’re not able to accumulate points in the conference. We’re playing the No. 9 and No. 13 ranked teams in the country that we lost to earlier in the year,” he said.

This weekend’s games mark Harvard’s first since a fourth-place showing at Minnesota’s Dodge Holiday Classic before Christmas, and the last games until the final weekend of the month due to the university’s exam break. Not including the trip to Mariucci, Harvard is a much better team than it showed in the first go-around against Cornell and Colgate.

“We’re a much different team. We’re more cohesive. We have a better sense of purpose and understanding of what we need to do to be successful,” Donato said. “With a new coaching staff and some new guys in the lineup we weren’t on the same page then like we are now.”

That doesn’t necessarily make Harvard the favorite to grab four points as Cornell and Colgate have also improved over the last two months. But the Crimson are feeling healthier than they were in Minnesota and playing on a home-ice surface that suits their strengths. Harvard is 7-0-0 at Bright this season.

“We try to encourage that (home-ice dominance). Our ice surface is very quick and we like to play a fast, up-tempo game. I think the guys feel comfortable here. We want to be very good at home and secure home ice in the playoffs,” Donato said.


On a Roll– Things just keep getting better for the Union Dutchmen. By now, you probably read the reports on coach Nate Leaman’s phone call to a recruit’s home that woke the residents just minutes before the house caught fire. Future Dutchman Augie DiMarzo, and his father Augie Sr., escaped the home with minor injuries. Augie currently plays for Avon Old Farms.

Later that week, in a 4-0 win at Connecticut, Dutchmen senior Jordan Webb became the all-time leading scorer in Union’s Division I history. His teammates saluted the achievement in the locker room after the game to recognize the accomplishment of the popular captain.

Looking out for teammates has been something that Leaman has placed particular emphasis on this year. Another noteworthy event from that UConn win saw goaltender Kris Mayotte encourage his team to ice the puck with 1:16 remaining so that sophomore goaltender Dan Tatar could get some playing time. Mayotte sacrificed a likely shutout for Tatar, who toils as the No. 3 man behind Mayotte and Justin Mrazek in the Union nets.

This weekend Union looks to stay near the top of the ECACHL standings with a difficult home series against Vermont and Dartmouth. With a continued unselfish mindset, second-half success for the Dutchmen will likely follow.


Great Weekend Getaway
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Cornell/Colgate at Brown/Harvard (Fri.-Sat.)
Choose any of these four games in Cambridge and Providence and you can’t go wrong. Colgate is in the process of defending its regular-season championship and is within striking distance of league-leading Harvard. Brown is the hottest team in the ECACHL with the hottest goaltender in Adam D’Alba. Cornell sits just four points out of first despite having played four fewer games than Harvard. Add the Cornell-Harvard rivalry into the mix and it’ll be a special weekend.

While You're in Boston: Find a local place of worship and join hundreds of the Red Sox Nation in lighting a candle and saying a prayer for baseball hero David Ortiz, who had minor shoulder surgery this week.

Stick Salute

Clarkson’s Shawn Weller was the lone ECACHL representative on the United States World Junior Championship team and represented himself and the Golden Knights very nicely in a checking role for the American team.

Bench Minor

By now you’ve heard plenty of chatter about Boston University’s fabulous Agganis Arena, which is the latest in a nationwide trend of college hockey facility constructions and renovations. When private and public investors put that much money into buildings, they want home dates, and ECACHL teams traveled all over the country to take part in assorted holiday tournaments. The only ECACHL teams to host an on-campus holiday tournament are RPI, which has had to change the date and attracts a weaker field each year, and Dartmouth/Vermont's every-other-year event.

• Don’t look now, but all of a sudden Dartmouth is coming to life. The pre-season choice by the media to win the ECACHL fought injuries throughout the first half of the season. The Big Green won the Ledyard Bank Classic on home ice and star player Lee Stempniak is starting to put up the point numbers that were expected.

• Another player that’s come on in recent games is Rensselaer freshman goaltender Jordan Alford. He stopped 62 of the 65 shots he faced in a split at Notre Dame. Coach Dan Fridgen has alternated goalies Alford and Andrew Martin and it looks like the highly touted freshman may be staking his claim to the number-one spot.

• It’s hard to believe that it would take Colgate’s Steve Silverthorn, selected to the pre-season All-ECACHL team by league coaches, until the turn of the New Year to record his first shutout. He stopped all 13 shots he faced in Colgate’s 3-0 win over Air Force on Jan. 2.

• Saturday’s Harvard-Cornell game will be broadcast live on Sirius Satellite Radio channel 133.

• When Harvard traveled to the Dodge Holiday Classic at Minnesota's Mariucci Arena, the Crimson played on an Olympic-sized ice sheet, which is rare for the Ivy League and ECACHL school. Harvard senior Andrew Lederman hit the post twice during the semifinal game against Northern Michigan and remarked. “They didn't tell us the posts were bigger out here too.”

Princeton snapped a six-game losing streak with a 4-2 win over American International on Tuesday. The Tigers are 3-2-1 on home ice this season and play five straight games at Baker Rink starting with this weekend’s series.

Vermont’s fund-raising efforts continued with a “Skate with the Cats” event on New Year’s Eve at Gutterson Fieldhouse. Hundreds of local fans joined the team and the event raised $850 for the Colchester/Milton Rotary Club’s Holiday Basket Project.

St. Lawrence has played just two games in the last month, a non-conference sweep of Lake Superior State in Appleton on Dec. 18 and 19. The Saints return to the ice at Yale and Princeton this weekend.

A variety of sources were utilized in the compilation of this report.

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