Last Line of Defense
Winning goaltenders shined in two otherwise
different ECACHL semifinals
4, St. Lawrence 0
Leitch, J. Duncan
Cashman, D. Marshall
Bud Fisher, 60:00, 23 saves, 0 GA
Alex Petizian, 58:09, 24 saves, 4 GA
QU 5/10; STL 10/23
Plays: QU 1-9; STL 0-4
ALBANY, N.Y. – The search for heroes
in a 10-1 blowout win usually starts at the offensive end
of the rink. Steve Mandes had two goals and two assists.
Four other Harvard players had three points, but the biggest
contributor to the win could have been the player that didn’t
even get a lowly assist. He sure did a heck of a job making
sure that Dartmouth’s guys didn’t get any points
John Daigneau, a senior goalie, was Harvard’s
best player in the first eight minutes when Dartmouth had
several Grade A chances. He kept the game scoreless until
the floodgates opened for the Crimson.
Dartmouth head coach Bob Gaudet, a goaltender
during his playing career, evaluated the play by Daigneau
and his goalie, Mike Devine.
“Daigneau is a really good goalie, he’s
a big kid and he follows the puck well,” Gaudet said.
“He was seeing it pretty and made some great plays.
Once they got up, as a goaltender, you play with a little
bit more ease. On our side, it was just one of those things.
Sometimes the puck has eyes.”
Devine allowed large rebounds on the first
two Harvard goals. Three other shots beat him cleanly unscreened.
Harvard coach Ted Donato knew the importance
of Daigneau on a night when all of the eyes were on the
goal Harvard was attacking. The only thing that went wrong
for Harvard was the fact that Nick Johnson’s goal
for the Big Green erased the shutout effort.
“In a perfect world, we’d
love for John to get a shutout because I think he deserved
it,” Donato said. “I think the first five to
ten minutes of the game John made some saves that were very
big for us.”
CORNELL DOES IT AGAIN
5, Dartmouth 4
Dodge, D. Cayer
Shribman, J. Grecu
Sullivan, G. Clitsome
Tuttle, M. Kolu
Swallow, B. Lovejoy
Guthrie, T. Marks
Swallow, T.J. Galiardi
Mike Devine, 59:18, 24 saves, 5 GA
David Leggio, 60:00, 25 saves, 4 GA
DC 5/10; CLG 3/6
Plays: DC 1-3; CLG 1-5
Colgate coach Don Vaughan said, “there
were no surprises,” and Cornell coach Mike Schafer
said, “it was everything we expected.” A tightly-played
game between two of the best defensive teams in the ECACHL
resulted in another Dave McKee shutout and another Big Red
appearance in the ECACHL championship game.
One thing that was a little surprising was
the duration between this and McKee’s last shutout.
Cornell had taken the ice 15 times since McKee blanked Quinnipiac
on Jan. 13. It matched the longest duration between shutouts
in McKee’s stellar career. The 15-game stretch was
equaled in the last three games of 2005 and the first dozen
outings this year.
It’s probably just a matter of perception,
seeing these improbably long streaks for the all-time shutout
leader in the ECACHL. That perception, and numbers that
were bound to be inflated after a record-setting 2004-05
campaign, might have seemed like McKee was a having a bad
year. It affected the all-ECACHL voting in which McKee didn’t
make the first, second or third teams.
"I think he is the best goaltender in
our league,” Schafer said. “I was disappointed
that he was not voted on the third, second or first teams
in our league. He has been under pressure this year trying
to match the best goals-against average and save percentage
in college hockey history. We talked about just winning
hockey games, because that is what he does.”
INCH's Three Stars of the Night
Jon Smyth, Colgate
first-team honoree last season wasn’t even mentioned
on the three all-league teams this time around. He
set a physical tone for the Raiders Friday night.
Dave McKee, Cornell
He only made 20 saves but at least seven
of them were spectacular and there were no lapses
or clumsy moments. He was especially strong in the
first ten minutes when Colgate had pressure, and on
a Raider power play late in the first.
The 10-1 score says it all, and a modest
Crimson squad chalked it up to puck luck and good
fortune. Daigneau was excellent, forwards buried their
chances, and the defense started the transition game,
a total team effort.
SEEN AND HEARD AT PEPSI ARENA
• Kevin Du’s goal, the sixth of
the night for Harvard, didn’t mean much in determining
the outcome of the game but was definitely the prettiest
goal of either game. With time winding down in the second
period, Du carried the puck over the blue line and turned
a Dartmouth defenseman around with a deke in the high slot.
Du then faked a shot on goalie Mike Devine before deking
to his backhand and flipping it over the prone goaltender
into a wide open net.
• We must give equal time to the goaltenders,
and Colgate’s Mark Dekanich made the stop of the night
with 15:40 remaining in the second period. Cornell defenseman
Ryan O’Byrne walked in alone from the top of the right-wing
slot, Dekanich put his right pad on the ice and kicked his
left pad toward the ceiling to deny Cornell the first goal
of the night.
• Clairvoyant Clarkson radio play-by-play
announcer Bob Ahlfeld, who also handled the radio broadcast
of the second semifinal, made an astute observation during
the third period of the Harvard-Dartmouth win. He wondered
why Harvard starting goalie John Daigneau was still in the
game with 11 minutes remaining and the shutout opportunity
ruined. Soon after Ahlfeld’s observation, Donato put
backup Justin Tobe into the game. Tobe played the final
9:26 and made 10 saves. The goaltending change assured Daigneau
of an injury-free night and gave Tobe a chance to see game
• We’ll chalk it up to adrenaline,
although Dartmouth defenseman Sean Offers had a few shifts
to burn that off. His diagonal dump-in from the neutral
zone on the Big Green’s first power play sailed over
• Huge credit to Cornell rookie forward
Tyler Mugford for his penalty-killing effort in the final
minutes of the game as he carried the puck into the Colgate
zone, got a shot off on Dekanich and forced a face-off in
the Raider defensive zone when they needed the tying goal.
• How does your team win 10-1, with
eight of those goals coming at even-strength or short-handed,
and you end up with a minus-1 rating? Ask Harvard’s
• Dan Goulding played the final 20 minutes
of the game in goal for Dartmouth. It was just his second
appearance of the year, after playing against Boston University
on Dec. 10. Sean Samuel was the starting goalie at the beginning
of the year and once his position was taken by Devine, Samuel
left the team for personal reasons.
won’t be surprised to know that a large contingent
of Cornell fans were on hand for the Friday proceedings.
They get extra credit as a large number, including the Cornell
band, showed up for the start of the Harvard-Dartmouth game.
We can assume they were there to cheer against Harvard,
but they didn’t have a chance to do so.
fight song, “Ten Thousand Men of Harvard,” is
one of the most underrated tunes in our beloved game. The
Crimson pep band was not in attendance. It’s a shame
that people were deprived of hearing the song once, but
it’s an even greater disappointment when you consider
that the song might have been heard at least 13 times during
the first semifinal.
Harvard is making its fifth consecutive appearance
in the ECACHL championship game. The Crimson have got a
2-2 record in the previous four title encounters, and won
in even-numbered years 2002 and 2004. We’ll find out
Saturday if that pattern continues in 2006.
Cornell gets a chance to face its rival and
seek another ECACHL title. The Crimson won at Lynah Rink
on Feb. 18, claiming the Ivy League title and winning on
Cornell’s Senior Night. It was a rare win for this
group of Harvard seniors, which has a 2-8-0 record against
Cornell over the last four years.
Dartmouth’s loss dashed its hopes of
playing in the NCAA Tournament. The Big Green will take
the ice once more on Saturday afternoon against Colgate.
The Raiders also won’t be invited to the national
tournament. Each team sends out a senior class that has
won more games than any other four-year group in the program’s
history. Adding one more win to either group's record-setting
total would be a fitting send-off.