Clouds Crimson's Season
there's no team that's underachieved more this season in the ECAC
than the Harvard Crimson, a consensus pick by the coaches and
media in pre-season polls to win the league championship.
to look no further than a four-day stretch last weekend for an
illustration of the type of season it's been for the Crimson.
In a huge
rivalry game against hated Yale, televised nationally by CSTV
no less, Harvard was overwhelmed in the first period and fell
behind 4-0. Yale also led 5-1 in the game. The "bad"
Harvard was on display for everyone to see. All of sudden, things
changed and Harvard played to its potential. Six unanswered goals,
including three in a span of 61 seconds midway through the third
period, allowed Harvard to leave the Whale with a 7-5 win, riding
high into Monday's Beanpot consolation game against Northeastern.
Noah Welch and Harvard are looking for answers. (Photo
As you might
imagine, Harvard's inconsistency reared its head again and the
Crimson suffered a 3-1 loss to the last-place team in Hockey East.
late, and Harvard's searching for answers. The Crimson is approaching
the rest of the year buoyed by optimism and a growing sense of
What can be
more descriptive than the fact that Harvard hasn't won two games
in a row over the course of the entire season?
looking to catch a flame. We haven't put together a two-game win
streak this whole year, which is sad. We've underachieved the
whole year and we're playing like a roller coaster. We're high
and then we're low," freshman defenseman Dylan Reese said.
"We've got to find something, and I don't know what it is,
but there's something we've got to change going into the playoffs
and hopefully make a run to the championship."
an optimistic spokesman, and also gives Harvard a bit of optimism.
The rookie blueliner has missed most of the year due to injury,
but is back in the lineup as crunch time approaches. Senior winger
Kenny Turano and rugged defenseman David McCulloch have also recently
returned to the Harvard lineup. But, as is the case with the 2003-04
Crimson, every bit of good news must be measured by some bad news,
and that comes in a shoulder injury to sophomore forward Charlie
Johnson suffered against Yale.
healthy and capable bodies back in the lineup should help Harvard
down the stretch.
were all out for over two months and my hope was that we could
get them in the last six games of the year and get some rhythm
going. It's not only practice, you've got to get in games to really
get a rhythm going. That's what our goal is now. We're getting
people back and we have to go forward," Harvard coach Mark
Kolarik took the pessimistic side of the argument. As a player
whose effort can never be questioned, he's struggling with what
he sees from some of the other players in the Harvard dressing
feel like we're close? I don't know, I don't have the answers,"
Kolarik said. "It's really a question of guys just wanting
to go out there and compete, and I don't think we do. I really
don't think we do night in and night out. That's nothing against
any of those guys in there, but collectively we haven't been able
to put it together. It's got to be 18, 19, 20 guys."
And that bit
about urgency? Harvard knows it must win the ECAC playoff championship
to make a third-straight trip to the NCAA Tournament. The optimism
is there, at least in the eyes of Reese.
we can win this thing. Our talent and our skill and our work ethic
are unbelievable. We're missing something and we're working hard
to find out what that is. When we find it, we'll be dangerous,"
AND HEARD IN THE ECAC
Streaking Again – At one point, early in the season,
the Union Dutchmen held a spot among the top-20 teams in the nation
in the INCH Power Rankings and boasted a record of 6-1-1. Then,
a two-month stretch without a win dropped the Dutch to 11th place
in the ECAC and well below the .500 mark. All of a sudden, Union's
back on an upswing with four wins in five games including a sweep
of Clarkson and St. Lawrence this past weekend.
to coach Nate Leaman was simple enough. Why so streaky?
our streakiness really comes down to us scoring goals. We went
through a funk there where we were averaging one goal a game,
and it was really, really tough for us to score goals. We lost
our confidence, we started shooting without confidence,"
the problem, broke it down on video, and showed the team what
they had to do prior to a Jan. 31 game at Union. It obviously
worked, as Union smoked Dartmouth 7-0.
shooting and rolling off the net, or we didn't push away from
the (defender), or we would take a shot and not follow it to the
six goals in its weekend sweep of Clarkson and St. Lawrence. Of
the six goals scored by the Dutchmen, Leaman said five of the
six were "right around the paint."
not a team that's going to score goals from the outside. We've
got to get in there and mix it up," he said.
Having a positive
attitude throughout the difficult parts of December and January
is now bearing fruit.
to commend the guys, because there were a lot of times when they
could've given up," Leaman said. "When we played hard
and were outplaying teams and we weren't beating them. Things
weren't going our way. The fact that we beat Dartmouth in their
building is a testament to the guys because they've kept to the
game plan all along. They haven't buried their heads and they
haven't given up. Things have turned our way now."
the positive feeling in Schenectady, N.Y. is the return to the
lineup of senior captain Glenn Sanders. As you'll recall, Sanders
underwent surgery early this season after suffering a ruptured
spleen during a game in mid-November. The injury was feared to
be life threatening at worst, and hockey was most certainly an
afterthought. Not only has Sanders energized the team off the
ice throughout his rehabilitation, he returned to the lineup this
will help the large group of young players in the Dutchmen lineup.
going through that stretch where we only had one senior in the
lineup when Glenny went down," Leaman said. "He came
back this weekend, so now we have two seniors, but the core of
our team is really, really young."
of the Fans – At the University of Vermont, recently
appointed athletics marketing guru Chris McCabe has been a big
part of making the school's athletic department one of the most
fan-friendly operations in the country. He's also gone about acquiring
corporate sponsorships in support of the university's athletics
title — Assistant Vice President, Marketing & Business
Development — is a fancy way to say what he really is, and
that is an "idea man." The 1991 alum of UVM learned
to give the fans what they want by working under Vince McMahon
at the World Wrestling Entertainment offices.
fan-friendly move from the university's standpoint is acquiring
information and opinions through an online
survey. By filling out the survey, fans are eligible to win
reserved seat season tickets to next year's hockey games, as well
as men's and women's basketball games.
also been integral in the Catamounts' development of new logo
wear featuring a modernized edition of the V-Cat logo.
tidbits for Catamounts fans, including a game-worn jersey currently
for bid at eBay from the 1991 season. This excellent feature
on Martin St. Louis in
the St. Pete Times is also of interest. Author Damian
Cristodero spoke with several Montreal Canadiens greats that St.
Louis grew up idolizing as a child near Montreal.
Great Weekend Getaway
Yale at Cornell (Sat.)
There’s no bigger contrast between teams
in the league. Yale has scored the most goals in the league,
and also allowed the most. Cornell ranks second-to-last
in goal scoring, but has also allowed the fewest. Also,
these teams are separated by only one point in the standings
heading into the weekend, with that point keeping Yale out
of a coveted top-four spot, for now.
you're there: Don't throw things on the ice. In most places,
this goes without saying, but the almighty Lynah Faithful
must not think that common sense applies to them. The fish
tradition against Harvard is novel, but showering opposing
players with soda bottles and stadium trash at the end of
a game (which has happened more than once this year) is
• To head coach Nate Leaman of Union,
who knows that building a program over the long term is
more important than chasing a couple of conference points
in the short term. For last weekend's games, one of Union's
best offensive players, Joel Beal, was held out of the lineup
for a violation of team rules. That sends a message to Beal,
but also to 25 or so other players around the program that
nobody's above the rules.
Vermont fans don't buy tickets just because
the team is winning. The enthusiastic support in Burlington,
including eight sellouts in 13 games this year, is nice
to see even with a 4-19-4 record.
loss to Northeastern in the Beanpot consolation negatively
affects other ECAC teams (and helps Hockey East teams) in
the Ratings Percentage Index, which is a component of the
NCAA Tournament selection criteria. It hurts the league's
chances of getting an at-large bid to the NCAAs.
AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
is getting a little freaky. With Rensselaer's comeback
win over Clarkson on Saturday night, the Engineers
are now 10-0-4 in the last 14 Big Red Freakout! games. Just imagine
your college alma mater's trophy game or high school homecoming
game, and not losing ... ever.
visits Clarkson's Cheel Arena on Saturday night
seeking its first-ever win in that particular building. The Big
Green hasn’t won in 11 games (0-10-1) since the Golden Knights
moved to Cheel from Walker Arena. Dartmouth's last win in Potsdam
was a 7-5 triumph at Walker Arena in February of 1990.
senior centerman Kyle Doyle plays an interesting role.
As the center on one of the Raiders top-two lines, he's responsible
for helping the team's output. But since his wingers are a pair
of sophomores — Kyle Wilson and Ryan Smyth — Doyle's
also playing the role of mentor toward two of Colgate's key players
in the future.
to teach them to be patient with the puck and know that the chances
will come over the course of the game," Doyle said. "They're
two very talented players, Wilson is more of a playmaker and scorer
and Smyth is a physical player and a grinder. We're going pretty
well right now and I just try to lead by example."
scored all three of its goals in a 3-3 tie with Vermont
while on the power play. In the game between the teams two weeks
earlier, the Raiders put four PPGs on the board, making it a grand
total of seven over two games. If these teams are to meet in the
playoffs, you can be assured that UVM coach Kevin Sneddon will
stress the importance of staying out of the penalty box.
allowing just nine shots on goal against Vermont,
Cornell tied a school record for fewest shots
allowed in a game. The last time it happened ... 35 years ago.
lost its only game of last weekend, 5-2 to visiting Brown.
Milestones, however, were achieved as freshman Max Cousins scored
the first goal of his collegiate career and senior Dan Hursh tallied
his first goal of the season.
staple of St. Lawrence's hockey history, Sports
Information Director Wally Johnson, will work his 919th Saints
men's hockey game on Friday night. He has missed just two games
since the 1985-86 season. One was due to illness, the other due
to the school's men's soccer team participating in the 1999 NCAA
Division III National Championship.
of sources were utilized in the compilation of this report.