A quick and friendly in-the-neighborhood visit by your favorite ECAC Hockey correspondent on this spectacular four-day weekend.
First and foremost, please welcome Nate Owen to the USCHO/ECAC family. The Nutmeg Stater takes over for the short-lived Josh Boyd, who – despite being a consummate professional – simply couldn’t figure out how to extend the standard day to 38 hours, and therefore has had to relinquish his position. I’ll let Nate introduce himself with the weekend-in-review blog (look for it Monday morning, if not Sunday night), but in the meantime you may as well add him to your Twitterverse: @Nate_Owen41 is the handle, and I am – as always – @SullivanHockey.
Well thank God for Harvard’s resiliency, because otherwise Tuesday would’ve been an unmitigated disaster for the league. Cornell just barely squeaked (“squuck”?) by Niagara – at Lynah, no less. The Big Red were even out-shot, 24-23, in the 1-0 win.
Elsewhere, American International – previously 2-8-2 – blanked Bruno in Providence, 3-0. Goalie Ben Meisner’s 38-save clean sheet would’ve been a good bet for ECAC Hockey’s worst result of the month, except that Yale was simultaneously stupefied by Sacred Heart in a 7-6 loss in Bridgeport, Conn.
That score wasn’t so much reflective of a poor effort by the Bulldogs, as it was a black-and-white outing by the opposing goaltenders: SHU ‘keeper Steven Legatto stopped 47 of 53 Blue blasts, while Yale’s Nick Maricic and Jeff Malcolm put their heads together and devised a fantastic localized depressant – seven goals on 19 shots ought to do it, they figured. (Maricic, the starter, surrendered two goals on four shots; Malcolm gave up five on 15 shots. I wouldn’t exactly call either the “better” goalie that night.) Can’t even blame team discipline for that inglorious defeat, as Yale killed all four penalties assessed. (Then again, seven five-on-five goals against – by a winless AHA side – is, shall we say, concerning.)
Crimson tide turning?
But as I said, Harvard came to the rescue with a truly stunning comeback against perennial Hockey East contender New Hampshire. The Wildcats, who entered the game winless (0-4-2) on the road this season, beat the tar out of the host Crimson in the first period with four goals in the game’s first dozen minutes. Harvard responded with four of the second period’s five goals, and three of the third period’s four to take down the ‘Cats. It adds further fuel to my creeping suspicion that there is something special about this Harvard team… that it is an inherently more durable and determined squad than we have seen out of Cambridge for the past half-decade.
The 37-shot carpet-bombing the Cantabs laid on Dartmouth Friday night supports the theory; but – even if it’s true, that Harvard is for real this year – will it be able to maintain its momentum with only single games in each of the next two weeks, followed by a New Year’s deuce at North Dakota and a Capital District road trip?
(That’s a rhetorical question.)