Experience Bolster Harvard in Strong Start
Harvard, and most Ivy League institutions
in ECAC Hockey, recruit a different type of player. While
they're always in pursuit of big-time talents from established
junior leagues in the United States and Canada, they know
that they need to recruit players with respectable academic
backgrounds as well. A crafty centerman from Kamloops may
have the skills necessary to make it at Harvard, but not
Mike Taylor is tied with fellow senior Jon Pelle and
sophomore Doug Rogers for the team lead in scoring
with four points.
As a result, Harvard's roster tends to be
comprised of younger players than some of the opponents'
rosters. The reason it matters is because maturity needs
to be developed – both physical maturity and hockey
Harvard senior forward Mike Taylor is an example
of what can happen when maturity and confidence come together
over a four-year career. He and his classmates have all
experienced it to some extent, and now Harvard has charged
into the INCH Power Rankings and toward the top of ECAC
Taylor came to Harvard from Academy of the
Holy Angels in Minnesota and was a finalist for the state's
Mr. Hockey Award. His credentials were strong, but he only
had six points in 31 games as a freshman. He then tallied
five goals and eight points as a sophomore.
"When you come out of high school, into
college hockey, you're trying to prove yourself and to be
energetic and physical every shift. You lack experience
and there are some nerves, and it gets harder when you're
not scoring, especially after scoring a lot of goals in
high school," Taylor said.
Taylor rediscovered his scoring touch last
season with 10 goals and 21 points. Once the calendar turned
to December, Taylor really heated up. He had five goals
in a three-game span and earned a spot on the Great Lakes
Invitational All-Tournament Team.
It's a similar story for other players, and
it's led to Harvard having a balanced offense. Through four
games this year, the Crimson have scored 16 goals, and only
two players have more than one tally.
"We definitely knew that depth would
be one of our assets coming into the year. We had a lot
of forwards who came into their own last year, and we've
stepped into bigger roles this season," Taylor said.
"It was that way for a lot of guys, where it took a
couple of years to take that step up into a larger scoring
role. You develop confidence."
Defensively, sophomore goalie Kyle Richter
has been stellar. He has back-to-back shutouts and allowed
just two goals in a loss at Clarkson and one goal in a win
at St. Lawrence. His consistency early on has come with
some help from a defensive group that is high on talent
but lacks a ton of collegiate experience, with one senior
(co-captain Dave MacDonald) and four of the top-six not
being old enough to legally puchase alcohol in the United
States. Both the defensemen and the forwards have done a
good job of playing in their own end of the rink.
Now, another test awaits the Crimson. Cornell
visits Bright Hockey Center this weekend.
"It's a huge game every time we play
these guys," Taylor said. "It's a fun game for
both teams and it means a lot."
SEEN AND HEARD IN ECAC HOCKEY
On The Road Again: Colgate
will try to do something this weekend that it hasn't done
yet this season, and that is to win a game in its opponent's
home stadium. The Raiders are 0-4-0 so far this year, with
a pair of losses at Michigan State and last week's defeats
at Brown and Yale. It doesn't get any easier for Colgate
this week, with tilts at Dartmouth and Harvard.
For the Raiders to break out of this funk,
they'll need to be better defensively, as former ECAC Hockey
Dryden Award-winner Mark Dekanich has just an .892 save
percentage in his nine starts this season. Colgate has eight
players with two goals or more on the year, led by freshman
Brian Day with seven. Seniors Tyler Burton and Jesse Winchester
are meeting their expected average of roughly a point-per-game,
but it's not been turning into results for the Raiders.
Off the ice, there's lots of good news around
the Colgate program. Plans for a new rink, or a significant
renovation of Starr Rink, are still in the works and are
being reviewed by the university's board of trustees.
At the recent Silver Puck Banquet, the team
announced the creation of an endowment in recognition of
current coach Don Vaughan. The Donald F. Vaughan Endowed
Coaching Chair for Men's Ice Hockey was made possible by
several donors, and income from the $2 million endowment
will help fund necessary expenses for the hockey program
including coaching salaries, recruiting, and expenses.
Great Weekend Getaway
Cornell at Harvard
(Friday, 7 p.m.)
When these two teams get together, it's
not to be missed. A charged-up environment (not always
common at Bright Hockey Center) should bring the best
out of both teams. Cornell has some momentum after
winning twice last weekend, and has improved throughout
the year. Harvard's one of the hottest teams in the
nation. It should be a good one.
While You're There: Stick around
for Saturday's doubleheader. The Harvard women's team
hosts Brown at 2 p.m. and the Crimson men host Colgate
at 7 p.m. In between games, Harvard Square is host
to plenty of shopping and dining options, and there
are smart people hanging around.
college-hockey related, but not related specifically
to ECAC Hockey. The early leader for understatement
of the year is Michigan State coach Rick Comley, speaking
on advantages that Enrico Blasi and his staff may
have in recruiting players to Miami University: "It's
a great campus to recruit to and players really like
to go there."
If you've been there, you know.
paper is waving the white flag, and lamenting
that the scheduling of Saturday's football game at
Yale will prohibit many athletics-loving students
from attending Friday's hockey game against Cornell,
giving the Big Red fans an attendance advantage at
Bright Hockey Center. Football game or not, it wouldn't
FRIES AT THE BOTTOM
OF THE BAG
• St. Lawrence goalie John Hallas, a
graduate student at SLU, probably didn't have a lot of expectations
for playing time entering the season, after getting just
one start and six appearances during his first three years
of eligibility. He played just 27 seconds as a junior. Things
have changed this year, as he's been given two starts and
has won both of them. He shutout Union on Oct. 27 and also
got the start at Princeton last Friday, where he made 31
saves on 34 shots in a 4-3 win for the Saints.
• Touted Cornell freshman Riley Nash
scored his first two collegiate goals, one in each game,
in wins over Yale and Brown last weekend. Nash's goal against
Brown drew lots of attention, on an individual effort he
carried the puck from the neutral zone, beating several
defenders before scoring.
• Steve Zalewski's four-goal game in
Clarkson's win at Princeton on Saturday afternoon was the
first four-goal game for the Golden Knights in more than
11 years. The last player to accomplish the feat was current
Clarkson assistant coach Jean-Francois Houle (against Brown
in March of 1996). He was the ECAC Hockey Player of the
• Yale sophomore forward Mark Arcobello
had two goals and three assists for five points in Yale's
6-4 win over Colgate on Sunday, in a game that was televised
on ESPNU. Continued scoring from Arcobello can only help
the Bulldogs, as Sean Backman also returned to the scoresheet
last weekend, with a goal in each game. Backman missed the
first two games of the season due to injury and didn't score
in his first two games back on the ice.
• Rensselaer and Union have this weekend
off, and return to action after Thanksgiving. The Engineers
host their annual tournament, welcoming in American International,
Notre Dame, and Alabama-Huntsville. Union has a Sunday evening
game at Massachusetts on Nov. 25.
• Union freshman forward Luke Cain,
who was off to a strong start as a rookie, suffered a third-period
leg injury in last week's game at Dartmouth and is out for
the rest of the season. It was just the start of a bad weekend
for the Dutchmen, who were shutout twice on the road.
• Dartmouth senior forward J.T. Wyman
leads the team in scoring with nine points through five
games. Fellow senior Nick Johnson ranks second with four
points. No surprise there. But three players are tied with
Johnson, and they are all freshmen – Scott Fleming,
Matt Reber, and Evan Stephens. Another freshman, Kyle Reeds,
stands next on the list with three points.
• Brown plays this weekend at St. Lawrence
and Clarkson, and it's a trip that most teams don't look
forward to. For the Bears, the timing is great, as mechanical
problems at their own home rink, Meehan Auditorium, have
forced the relocation of a pair of scheduled Brown women's
ice hockey games this weekend.
• Travel partners Quinnipiac and Princeton
play their next three games against one another. The first
is Saturday at Quinnipiac, and it's a non-league game. The
teams will also meet Wednesday at Princeton and again next
Saturday afternoon at Quinnipiac in games that count toward
the ECAC Hockey standings.
A variety of sources were utilized in
the compilation of this report. Joe Gladziszewski can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.