March 20, 2004
ECAC Championship
The Late Shift
It wasn't always pretty, but Harvard ends up atop ECAC

By Joe Gladziszewski

Harvard 4, Clarkson 2
Team Goal Str
Time Assists
First Period
1-CU Chris Blight (19) EV
16:39 M. Faulkner
2-CU Tristan Lush (6) EV
17:31 M. Grenzy

Second Period

1-H Tom Cavanagh (15) PP
0:10 B. Bernakevitch, T. Pettit
2-H Tom Cavanagh (16) EV
4:50 D. McCulloch, D. Reese
Third Period
3-H Kenny Smith (4) EV
19:23 B. Bernakevitch
4-H Dennis Packard (10) EV
19:48 D. Murphy, N. Welch
CU: Dustin Traylen, 59:43, 21 saves, 3 GA
H: Dov Grumet-Morris, 60:00, 14 saves, 2 GA
Penalties: CU 5/18; H 3/6
Power Plays: CU 0-3; H 1-4
Attendance: 6,489

ALBANY – You've read all about Harvard's talent – 12 players drafted into the NHL, a roster loaded with experience, two consecutive NCAA Tournament trips. They were the landslide choice to win the ECAC by coaches and media, announced at the league's preseason media day held at Pepsi Arena in Albany.

They were back at Pepsi Arena on Saturday night, and skated off with the Whitelaw Trophy as ECAC Champions. Looking at the beginning and the end, it's pretty much what was supposed to happen.

The in-between was the difficult part. Harvard's regular season was mediocre. There were major adjustments to a restructured coaching staff and new systems. Glimmers of hope were clouded by unconvincing efforts.

In essence, that was what happened in Saturday's final, which Harvard entered riding an 8-1-1 streak over its previous 10 games. Just when we're ready to accept that they've arrived and are here to stay, they were outplayed in the first period and trailed Clarkson 2-0 on goals from Chris Blight and Tristan Lush just 52 seconds apart.

But, as they've been able to do over the long haul, they came back from adversity. Tom Cavanagh scored twice in the second, and the defense shut down Clarkson over the last 40 minutes. It led to captain Kenny Smith's game-winning goal with 37.3 seconds left to play, after Brendan Bernakevitch won a face off in the right wing circle.

"It was a difficult season," Smith said. "We had high expectations for ourselves, and a lot of people had high expectations for us. We had a lot of ups and downs. We were around .500 for a while. It was tough. The whole time, this team and this coaching staff stuck together. We knew that these difficult challenges would make us a stronger group, better people and better players."

The adage is that mistakes can be good, as long as lessons are learned along the way. Junior goaltender Dov Grumet-Morris said that the ups and downs were something this team needed to go through.

"Some of the steps we took this year were very unique and that allowed us to continue to stay poised under pressure in this game," he said.

Harvard's fortunes turned with a total commitment to team defense. Both in terms of its systems, and in terms of its effort in winning individual battles and blocking shots.

That defense limited Clarkson to just six shots on goal over the last two periods.

"I couldn't be more proud of our kids. For what they did over the course of the season and the way they persevered and stayed together, they're very deserving champions," coach Mark Mazzoleni said.

The process was never easy, but the results are what matter. Harvard's got the trophy and will represent the ECAC in the NCAAs, making the end exactly what was prescribed in the beginning.


Colgate senior goaltender David Cann got the start between the pipes as the Raiders defeated Dartmouth 3-2 in the consolation game. Relegated to backup duty with the team riding the solid play of Steve Silverthorn, Cann became the full-time backup.

Interim coach Stan Moore lauded Cann's positive attitude in accepting his role on the team. Instead of bringing a negative vibe, Cann worked hard in practice, supported his teammates, and was ready to play when called upon. He was there for the Raiders in an important game in February, when Silverthorn was serving a one-game suspension, and defeated Cornell.

"My job is to be ready to come in and be ready to play when I'm called upon," Cann said. "Everyone wants to play but the guys were playing well for Steve and you don't want to change things up when they're working."

There he was again, thrust into an opportunity. Colgate held some hope for an at-large NCAA Tournament big, despite its unlikeness of happening.

"I had the chance to shine again tonight, and I think I did," Cann said. "One of our goals at the beginning of the season was to win our last game, and if tonight was our last game we did that."

He finished the game with 35 saves.

INCH's Three Stars of the Weekend

3. Rob Brown, Colgate
The senior captain scored the game-winning goal and was a huge part of Colgate's success all season long.

2. Dustin Traylen, Clarkson
The Golden Knight goaltender was fantastic down the stretch and his improved play throughout was reflective of Clarkson's overall improvement.

1. Tom Cavanagh, Harvard
He was Harvard's best player in the playoff series win at Brown one week earlier, and carried the load in the goal-scoring department in the Crimson comeback. The junior was vomiting throughout the night after the semifinal win, but made an impact despite being under the weather.


• Face-off plays are most frequently drawn up for offensive zone draws, but Harvard drew up a set play for the start of the second period. There were 35 seconds remaining on a Crimson power play and the plan was to get the puck to Tim Pettit for entry into the zone. It ended up with Cavanagh working a give-and-go with Brendan Bernakevitch for a breakaway and he slipped the puck through Dustin Traylen's legs.

• Halfway through the championship game, Clarkson flipped the puck into the zone toward the net. Grumet-Morris reached up to glove it, but didn't make the catch. The puck ricocheted to the end boards off of the cuff of the goalie's glove. Some Clarkson fans surely thought back to the team's 1999 title, and Willie Mitchell's semifinal game-winner, which went into the net in similar fashion.

• Colgate killed off a five-minute major penalty late in the first period while the score was tied 1-1. Little used winger Marc Fulton checked Dartmouth's Grant Lewis from behind. Lewis was hurt on the play and didn't return to the game.

• Clarkson's Mac Faulkner and Harvard's Brendan Bernakevitch shared the tournament scoring lead with 10 points each. Cavanagh and Chris Blight had nine points each.

• Bernakevitch was named as the Most Outstanding Player in the tournament. He was joined on the all-tournament team by Cavanagh, Lush, Dave McCulloch, Michael Grenzy, and Grumet-Morris.

• A note from Burlington, Vt. The Catamounts' flagship radio station, WVMT AM 620, is auctioning off autographed jerseys from John LeClair and Martin St. Louis, along with other memorabilia from the school's athletic programs as a part of a fundraiser to benefit a local family dealing with a serious illness.


To Clarkson's resurgence, which can only be a positive for the league. Their tradition makes them a recognizable name across the country.

To the consolation teams, who played an exciting, spirited game despite it not meaning much in the grand scheme of things.

With replay capabilities available, Dartmouth's apparent equalizer in the final minute (which was disallowed by the on-ice officials) wasn't even reviewed by the off-ice officials. Video replay was used in the championship game, though none of the goals were disputed.


Colgate: The Raiders certainly made a huge stride forward and won the regular-season title for the first time since 2000. Don Vaughan returns to the bench next season and expectations will be much higher than they were coming into this year.

Dartmouth: The Big Green made their fourth straight trip to Albany, which is a reflection on the consistency that the program has shown over the
"What we're looking for is to bring this program to a national level. We didn't come up with the goods this weekend but we keep chipping away and persevere.

Clarkson: Though the season ended with a loss, the year was marked by wins. Clarkson won back some respect and pride around its program. Its scholarship situation remains healthy after being threatened by NCAA legislation. The players have confidence and belief that the program is on an upswing, and are having fun coming to the rink, which was not the case last year.

Harvard: Next stop is the NCAA Tournament. It's the third straight trip for the Crimson, which has suffered first-round losses in the last two years. "We haven't won an NCAA Tournament game yet," said Tyler Kolarik. "Coach Mazzoleni said to savor it, but let's get focused on Monday and get ready for the weekend."

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