No Luck for Green
by Mark H. Anbinder/CHN Correspondent
ALBANY, N.Y. Even five Harvard penalties could barely get the top-seeded Big Green on the scoreboard. Following 60 minutes of play, Harvard had won 10-1, and the Crimson tallied a shorthanded goal and a four-on-four goal along the way.
The game was actually scoreless through the first nine minutes, but Harvard got on the board first at 9:01 of the first.
"To err is human, to let in goals Devine," taunted a Clarkson fan at sophomore Dartmouth goalie Mike Devine just after he'd let in the fifth unanswered goal, the shorthanded one, with 14:44 left to play in the second period. Of course Clarkson hasn't been here since defeating Cornell at Ithaca's Lynah Rink two years ago, a feat it could not repeat this season.
Speaking of Ithaca, it was Cornell's fans filling the seats and making the noise in the early semifinal game. Even though it's St. Patrick's Day, only a relative handful of green-clad folks could be seen, and many of them weren't Dartmouth fans.
Dartmouth head coach Bob Gaudet, himself a Dartmouth alum, was proud of his squad, but it was "one of those nights you have sometimes where nothing seems to go right," he said.
"I thought we had an excellent start to the game, and all of a sudden we're down. Harvard has an excellent team. They deserve the win. It's a tough one, folks. We've fought hard all season long."
And so it was another season of disappointment for the Big Green, which has never won an ECAC Tournament championship, and hasn't made the NCAAs since 1980 despite coming very close each of the last two years.
It wasn't until Harvard had scored seven times that Dartmouth managed its first tally, and that was to be their only score.
"I think we came out hard for a hardworking game," Big Green team captain Mike Ouellette said. "They were able to put pucks in the net early and often, we struggled, and that was really deflating for us.
"They played a great game, and we just weren't up to the match tonight."
Asked how the team would be able to get psyched up for tomorrow's third-place game, Ouellette said, "Every time we step out on the ice, we step out with the mindset that we're going to play hard."
Harvard poured it on once it got rolling, something it has been very good at this season.
"In the first five minutes, John [Daigneau] made some saves that were very big for us," said Harvard coach Ted Donato.
"I think to come back and get the shorthanded goal was a bit of a backbreaker for Dartmouth."
It's the fifth straight year Harvard advances to the finals; they won the championship in 2002 and 2004.
"Our record against both teams is 1-1," Coach Donato said when asked which team he'd rather face tomorrow. "I don't think our guys have any particular favorite to play. We'll worry about whoever advances and accept those challenges when they come."
Junior Kevin Du added, "Both teams are great teams. We're going to have to come out tomorrow night with the same effort and performance as tonight."