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March 18, 2006 E-MAIL PRINT Bookmark and Share

ECAC Notebook: Friday

by Avash Kalra/Staff Writer

ALBANY, N.Y. —

Surprise, Surprise

For the fourth time in the last five years, the Cornell Big Red and the Harvard Crimson will face off for the ECAC tournament championship.

It will be the continuation of one of the most emotional rivalries in all of college sports. In 2002, Harvard beat Cornell for the title in double overtime. In both 2003 and 2005, Cornell came from behind to win the crown. And now, the two most dominant programs in the ECAC in recent years will meet again.

"You have a couple of teams that play different styles," said Colgate coach Don Vaughan. "Harvard's very explosive, probably one of the best teams in the country in transition. Cornell's very stingy defensively. Should be a great final."

The last time these two teams met was on February 18 at Cornell's Lynah Rink. On senior night. For the Ivy League title.

The game was tied 2-2 in the third before a five minute major on Cam Abbott allowed Harvard to take control of the game. Crimson captain Peter Hafner, who only minutes before had left the ice bloodied and bruised, came back to score the game-winner and give his teammates their first ever win in Ithaca.

Cornell coach Mike Schafer hasn't forgotten.

"I think we [were really excited] at home, and we were out of control," recalled Schafer. "We didn't think very well. I was very disappointed with the way we played at home against them last time."

"Although," added Schafer, "My senior year against Harvard at home, we lost 11-4. I took a 5 minute major that led to 2 or 3 power play goals. So my experience against them was a lot worse, and that year we won the ECAC Championship."

Seen and Heard at the ECAC Championships

Harvard captain Peter Hafner and a teammate tossing a football to one another in the lower concourse of the arena, less than 30 minutes before their scheduled pregame warmup. Ironically, the Crimson would score a touchdown and add a field goal in the rout over Dartmouth.

Princeton head coach Guy Gadowsky sitting in the stands and taking notes during the Harvard/Cornell game.

Union coach Nate Leaman presenting Yale coach Tim Taylor with a "3 DVD box set" of their team's five overtime game two weeks ago. The game, which Yale won on a shorthanded goal in the game's 8 th period, was the longest in men's Division I history.

Former Big Red players Mark and Matt McRae, both of whom played integral parts in Cornell's 2003 ECAC championship and Frozen Four run, enjoying the game from the stands.

The media room erupting as Northwestern State stunned Iowa in the NCAA men's basketball tournament.

A sign from a Cornell fan reading "Abajo Colgate," in reference to the controversial "Abajo Fidel" sign displayed during one of Cuba's games in the World Baseball Classic this week.

Quotes of the Day

"I'll trade you this puck for that stick!" — a young fan, trying to get Tyler Burton's attention, as he sat in the stands taping his stick before the Raiders' semifinal with Cornell.

"For us, this feels a little bit like Miss Congeniality." — St. Lawrence coach Joe Marsh providing a regrettable mental image while accepting the Turfer Athletic Trophy at the ECAC awards banquet.

"From Dartmouth, Reid Cashman." — the MC at the awards banquet while introducing Quinnipiac's star defenseman.

"There was almost enough talent to overcome the coaching." — Marsh, discussing the Saints' loss to finalist Harvard last week.

"I guess we had a little bit of the luck of the Irish today." — Ted Donato, after his Crimson team exploded for 10 goals against Dartmouth.

"I got a nice pass from Moulson. I turned around at the net and couldn't believe there wasn't anybody in my face. I was actually thinking about passing it at first." — Byron Bitz, describing his power play goal against Colgate.

"Hopefully they've used them all up." — Cornell coach Mike Schafer, on the fact that Harvard has scored 18 goals in its last two games.

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