March 19, 2004
ECAC Semifinals
No Surprise: The ECAC Remains Unpredictable

By Joe Gladziszewski

Clarkson 2, Colgate 1
Team Goal Str
Time Assists
First Period
1-Clk Matt Curley (1) EA
3:01 B. Rutherglen, J. McKinven
1-Clg Kyle Wilson (14) EV
18:20 Unassisted

Second Period

1-Clk Michael Grenzy (2) EV
14:34 J. Genovy, L. Porter
Third Period
No Scoring
Clk: Dustin Traylen, 59:56, 27 saves, 1 GA
Clg: Steve Silverthorn, 59:16, 32 saves, 2 GA
Penalties: Clk 4/8; Clg 3/6
Power Plays: Clk 0-1; Clg 0-3
Attendance: TBD

ALBANY – It was another night of hockey without rhyme or reason, and in the ECAC, it doesn't come any other way.

Three players with a combined total of one goal coming into the evening’s action scored three of the biggest goals of the night. And those higher-seeded teams that were nationally ranked? You'll find them in the consolation game.

Clarkson, the ninth seed, and Harvard, the sixth seed, got goals from unlikely sources to advance to the championship game. That left Colgate and Dartmouth with the chance to pick up one final win in the consi and the slimmest hopes for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.

In the first semifinal, two rookie blueliners for Clarkson lit the lamp. Matt Curley, a North Country product, took a cross-ice pass and blasted it through Colgate goalie Steve Silverthorn to put the Golden Knights in front 3:01 into the proceedings.

"It couldn't have come at a better time," Curley said of his first collegiate goal. "To be honest with you, it's nice, but more importantly we're playing tomorrow night for an ECAC Championship, and that's what really matters."

After Colgate tied the score, Clarkson's Michael Grenzy crept in from the point and was on the doorstep to bury a centering pass from Jeff Genovy, who was stationed behind the net. It was Grenzy's second goal of the year.

"I'm as surprised as everyone else. Matt Curley and myself scoring is quite a surprise. We're not the two most offensive defensemen," Grenzy said. "It's great to see that we can contribute because you have a tough time scoring against Colgate."

The surprises continued in the second semifinal, where after a scoreless first period, Harvard defenseman Dave McCulloch intercepted a cross ice pass inside of the Dartmouth defensive zone, and wristed a shot from the top of the left-wing circle that found the upper-right corner. It was McCulloch's first goal of the year.

"The coaches have been getting on me in practice about not scoring," he said. "I just tried to get it on net. I told (Coach Mark Mazzoleni) that I tried to pick the corner, but I'm not sure he believed me."

The senior from Lacombe, Alberta missed 15 games this year, most of those due to a leg injury. He's the all-time penalty minutes leader at Harvard, and laid a ferocious open-ice hit on Dartmouth's Eric Przepiorka in the first period.

"David McCulloch is one of those kids that you don't appreciate him unless you have him on your team. He's a guy who comes to play hard and tenacious every single night," Mazzoleni said.

Harvard 2, Dartmouth 1
Team Goal Str
Time Assists
First Period
No Scoring

Second Period

1-H Dave McCulloch (1) EV
11:40 Unassisted
1-D Lee Stempniak (16) EV
19:19 B. Van Abel

Third Period

1-H Brendan Bernakevitch (10) EV
0:33 P. Hafner, R. Lannon
H: Dov Grumet-Morris, 60:00, 30 saves, 1 GA
D: Dan Yacey, 58:56, 31 saves, 2 GA
Penalties: H 2/4; D 2/4
Power Plays: H 0-2; D 0-2
Attendance: 5,641


Clarkson's figured something out about playing with the lead. It's good.

For the sixth consecutive game when scoring first, the Golden Knights went on to win. That includes five playoff wins, including Friday's 2-1 win over Colgate that sends Clarkson to the championship game against Harvard.

"I think it's been important for us all along here. Same thing against Union, we got the lead and held on to it. Against Cornell the first night they jumped on us and we never recovered," head coach George Roll said. "We're not telling our guys you've got to score the first goal, but it's more just go in and establish ourselves, get the puck deep and get to the net."

The Knights came out flying in the first period of the afternoon tilt, and capped a series of tenacious forechecking plays with Curley's goal.

"When you get down to a team, you start questioning things, but when you get a lead it makes it so much easier. It's been important for us down the stretch here. We've played well with the lead the last seven or eight games," Roll said.

INCH's Three Stars of the Night

3. Lee Stempniak, Dartmouth
The Dartmouth junior had the highlight-reel goal of the night. He backchecked in the neutral zone to take the puck away from Harvard's Ryan Maki, then wheeled in to the zone around Noah Welch, across the crease of Dov Grumet-Morris, and tucked it inside the left post on his backhand.

2. Clarkson's "fourth" line
Roll said the trio of Max Kolu, Lyon Porter, and Jeff Genovy set the tone with their forechecking work all game long. He called them the team's best offensive group on Friday, even though they're listed as the least-heralded of the forward lines.

1. Dennis Packard, Harvard
Two Harvard goals were scored and you won't see any points for the 6-foot-5 winger. Yet there he was, creating traffic on McCulloch's opener and winning the draw to set up the game-winner by Bernakevitch.


• Clarkson is 4-7-0 all-time in the championship game, while Harvard is 6-7-0.

• It's Harvard's third straight final. They last won it in 2002. It's Clarkson's first appearance in the final since 1999, when they defeated St. Lawrence in Lake Placid.

• While killing a penalty late in the first period, Clarkson's Chris Blight took the puck away from Colgate defenseman Rob Brown and had a partial breakaway. Brown hauled down Blight, who was awarded a penalty shot by referee Tim Kotyra. It's believed to be the eighth penalty shot in ECAC playoff history.

• Dartmouth's Dan Yacey saw his shutout streak end at 181:21 when McCulloch scored in the second period. It's the longest shutout streak in ECAC playoff history.

• Harvard's penalty-killers paid the price to protect a one-goal lead in the middle of the third period, as Rob Fried, Tim Pettit, and Ryan Maki all blocked shots from the left point by Hugh Jessiman. A fourth Jessiman blast hit the outside of the goalpost.

• Every Clarkson win leaves a mark in the league record book, as the ninth seed in the league tournament had never advanced as far as the semifinals. A win on Saturday would make Clarkson the lowest seed ever to win the title.


Kudos to the mutual respect shown by Colgate's first-team forward Jon Smyth and Clarkson's red-hot goaltender Dustin Traylen. They had the best one-on-one duel of the night. In the third period, with Clarkson holding a one-goal lead, Smyth patiently held the puck and had Traylen on his back, but as Smyth released the low shot, Traylen slapped his arm to the ice and made the save.

"That was a bit of a Hail Mary save. He had me beat, I'm not going to sit here and lie to you," Traylen said. "I just sprawled backward and tried to throw my glove back there and hope for the best, and he hit me."

"I would've gone upstairs had I known that his arm would come around, so I have to give all of the credit to him. He made an unbelievable save," Smyth said.

A guy walked into the arena wearing a Boston College jersey. Hey, why not? They're not playing this weekend. The bad part was that he had the jersey tucked into his blue jeans. Get with it man.


Colgate: Without question, the Raiders hopes for an NCAA Tournament berth took a major hit with Friday's loss. But, with several results from around the nation yet to be determined, Colgate still has a chance to pick up a quality win in the consolation. "We don't know what will happen with the selection committee or the bids, or an NCAA berth. We only know that tomorrow we need to be prepared and ready to play. If we win that game, we'll make it difficult for people to make a decision not to select us," Colgate interim head coach Stan Moore said.

Dartmouth: The loss was disappointing, and the result was disappointing, but the Big Green has been to Albany for four consecutive years. Consistency is hard to come by in the ECAC, with so much turnover in the standings from year-to-year. Senior defenseman and captain Brian Van Abel

Clarkson: These Golden Knights have already taken a huge step by helping to put all of the negative publicity surrounding the program from last year a thing of the past. One more win brings the Clarkson program from perhaps its lowest point in its existence to a high perch atop the ECAC.

Harvard: This is where the Crimson were expected to be, playing in the ECAC Championship. We didn't think they would need this win to get into the NCAA Tournament, however. Experience is on the side of the men from Cambridge, but as we found out again on Friday, anything can happen in the ECAC.

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