October 21, 2008 PRINT Bookmark and Share

Harrison Feat Recalls Mighty C.J. Young

by Adam Wodon/Managing Editor

The Hall of Fame has called for Zach Harrison, and he's not even out of college yet. But it didn't want Harrison, it wanted his stick — a stick he made history with.

Harrison, a Minnesota State junior forward from Flint, Mich., scored a shorthanded natural hat trick, scoring the games last three goals over a 29:54 span of the second and third period.

A shorthanded hat trick is rare enough — apparently, according to some research, it has only happened six times in NCAA history. And the fact that the last one went into an empty net hardly diminishes the feat.

But a shorthanded natural hat trick?

The Hall of Fame was quoted in a Minnesota State news release as saying it wasn't sure it had ever happened before.

But oh, it has. And did it ever.

I was immediately reminded of what I've long considered to be the greatest in-game scoring feat in hockey history — Harvard's C.J. Young scoring three shorthanded goals in just 49-seconds during a game on December 12, 1988. That was the year Harvard won the national championship.

Read that again: three times, shorthanded, 49 seconds.

Today, Young is an Equity Analyst for Century Funds in Boston. When reached, he was first surprised anyone was bringing up his accomplishment. And he had no idea that Harrison had just done something to bring Young's name back to the spotlight again.

"Wow," Young said. "It's amazing someone remembers something like that. ... The memories of that team, and that experience — I didn't even think at the time how significant it was."

Young's accomplishment was assisted, only somewhat, by coming over the span of two periods. But still. He scored five goals in that game, against a bad Dartmouth team that won only eight games that season.

"I can still remember it very, very distinctly," Young said. "The first two goals were very similar plays. I don't even know if Dartmouth changed any of their guys. Literally it was the same type of move on the defensemen, beat the goalie on the same spot on his glove. That's super vivid."

After the period break, Young went back out up front with Lane MacDonald, the Hobey Baker Award winner that year.

"Our penalty kill — it was a function of some the guys, we had high-skilled guys," Young said. "You had a little more conviction you could make something happen (offensively during the penalty kill).

"I remember coming down beating him five-hole. ... Lane MacDonald took the faceoff, and I don't know if it went back to our 'D' and it was fed through the middle. I remember taking the pass through the middle. I remember the significance of it more now. Then it was just — we're up."

For those who don't know, Young was no slouch. He was a junior on that title team, winning the New England Sportswriters Best Defensive Forward award, and was a two-time All-American. Young played for the 1992 U.S. Olympic team, then had a brief NHL career with Boston and Calgary.

Appropriately, Harrison's feat comes almost 20 years since Young's. Harvard is planning to commemorate the national championship season some time in January.

"I get reminded of it more and more," Young said. "Coach (Bill) Cleary, if he brings it up — that team is coming up more and more. I think there's been more attention paid to that team. But yeah, I get reminded of it all the time."

For the record, the last shorthanded hat trick in an NCAA game was St. Cloud State’s George Awada on Feb. 14, 1998.

Here's the whole list (courtesy of Shane Frederick at the Mankato Free Press):


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