March 17, 2006
ECACHL Semifinals
The Last Line of Defense
Winning goaltenders shined in two otherwise different ECACHL semifinals

By Joe Gladziszewski

Quinnipiac 4, St. Lawrence 0
Team Goal Str
Time Assists
First Period
1-QU Ben Nelson (16) EV
5:10 B. Leitch, J. Duncan

Second Period

2-QU Brandon Wong (27) PP
6:52 R. Cashman, D. Marshall
3-QU David Marshall (17) EV
19:25 unassisted
Third Period
7-QU Ben Nelson (17) EV
15:55 B. Leitch
QU: Bud Fisher, 60:00, 23 saves, 0 GA
STL: Alex Petizian, 58:09, 24 saves, 4 GA
Penalties: QU 5/10; STL 10/23
Power 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 either.

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.”


Clarkson 5, Dartmouth 4
Team Goal Str
Time Assists
First Period
1-CLK Shawn Weller (18) PP
8:28 N. Dodge, D. Cayer

Second Period

1-DC Rob Pritchard (10) EV
8:48 D. Shribman, J. Grecu
2-CLK Nick Dodge (18) EV
9:26 M. Sullivan, G. Clitsome
3-CLK Mike Willemsen (1) EV
15:59 D. Tuttle, M. Kolu
Third Period
2-DC Grant Lewis (1) EV
3:38 K. Swallow, B. Lovejoy
4-CLK Chris D'Alvise (15) EV
5:05 S. Guthrie, T. Marks
3-DC T.J. Galiardi (13) PP
6:16 D. Jones
4-DC J.T. Wyman (12) EV
18:20 K. Swallow, T.J. Galiardi
5-CLK Steve Zalewski (16) EV
19:19 S. Weller
DC: Mike Devine, 59:18, 24 saves, 5 GA
CLG: David Leggio, 60:00, 25 saves, 4 GA
Penalties: DC 5/10; CLG 3/6
Power Plays: DC 1-3; CLG 1-5
Attendance: 4,484

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

3. Jon Smyth, Colgate
A 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.

2. 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.

1. Harvard
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.


• 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 action.

• 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 the glass.

• 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 Charlie Johnson.

• 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.


You 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.

Harvard’s 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.