Game Notes (11/25): Boston University vs. Harvard
BOSTON UNIVERSITY vs. HARVARD
If you wanted to see a very entertaining game that featured loads of NHL prospects, then this game would’ve fit the bill. A matchup between two old adversaries, it featured 26 NHL propects combined between the two teams. However, only 23 of them actually played tonight. The Terriers are still without the services of sophomore defenseman Jekabs Redlibs (CBJ), who is still on the mend with a broken collarbone. They also do not have the services of sophomore RW David VanderGulik (CGY), who suffered a hip-pointer in the series versus UMass-Lowell last weekend. Meanwhile, the Crimson are without the services of team captain of Kenny Smith (EDM), who was likely out due to a coach’s decision.
The game was a contradiction in styles of play. The Crimson are an excellent skating team. Harvard’s speed is deadly and they take full advantage of it. The Terriers are a grinding, excellent checking team who’s tough in one-on-one situations. Each would test the other.
In the opening stanza, the Terriers would get on the board first at the 6:57 mark. With sophomore defenseman Tom Walsh (SJ) off for an interference call the BU Power Play, which has been dismal thus far this season, went to work. It all started with a nice move in the neutral zone by senior forward Frantisek Skladany (COL) on a Harvard defender. Sklandany skates deep into the Crimson zone, then proceeds to make a nice drop pass to freshman defenseman Kevin Schaeffer. Schaeffer then fires a low shot from the blueline at the Harvard net. Harvard’s netminder, junior Dov Grumet-Morris (PHI) makes the intial save but gives up a huge rebound. Senior Forward Kenny Magowan (NJ) skates in from the sideboards to jump in and picks up the loose puck in the crease then sweeps it behind Grumet-Morris for the goal. Schaeffer and Skladany would be credited with the assists on Magowan’s power play goal. Later in the period at the 10:38 mark, the Crimson would reply with a power play goal of their own. With towering freshman defenceman Thomas Morrow (BUF) in the penalty box on a hooking call, the deadly Harvard power play would go to work, and it wouldn’t take them long to score. Just 14 seconds into the power play, junior RW Tom Cavanagh (SJ) would tie the game at 1-1. It all began with some terrific passing around the perimeter by Harvard. A nice give-and-go ensued between senior forward Tm Pettit and junior defenseman Noah Welch (PIT). Welch then fires at the net that insteads rebounds off of the backboards. Cavanagh comes in from the right side boards to take the rebound shot, but not before senior forward Dennis Packard (TB) makes a nice touch pass to him. Cavanagh then proceeds to flip the up over Fields, who had gone down to try and smother the puck as it came back towards him after ricocheting off the backboards for the goal. Welch and Packard would draw the assists. Harvard wasn’t done scoring yet. At the 12:25 mark, they would get on the board to take the lead for the first time in the game. A Terriers player attempts to make a clearing pass that ends up bouncing off of Harvard junior forward Brendan Bernakevitch, who proceeds to gain possession then backhands the puck that ends up bouncing off of the glass near the left side corner boards and back down onto the ice. Harvard’s sophomore forward Charlie Johnson (NJ) is there to retrieve it and then passes to Bernakevitch. Bernakevitch then puts on a nice move, changing directions to get BU senior netminder, Sean Fields out of position. Bernakevitch, then spots senior forward Tyler Kolarik (CBJ) coming toward the BU net with a Terrier defenceman, Thomas Morrow. Bernakevitch then slides the puck to Kolarik, who somehow fights off the towering Morrow for not only positioning for the puck but also to get his stick down to poke it past Fields for the goal. Bernakevitch would draw the only assist on the goal. This put Harvard up 2-1. At the 17:52 mark, the Terriers would answer the bell. It all begins with a neutral zone turnover by Harvard. BU freshman defenseman, Kevin Schaeffer retrieves the puck and shoots it in on the Harvard net from the blueline. Once again, Grumet-Morris gives up a big rebound. With the rebounded puck in the right face-off circle, BU senior Kenny Magowan charges in to retrieve then fire in the shot that get by Grumet-Morris for the goal. Schaeffer and senior forward Gregg Johnson (OTT) would be credited with Magowan’s 2nd goal of the night. That made it 2-2 at the end of the 1st period.
The 2nd period saw the Terriers gain some territorial advantage by forcing the Harvard players in tight checking situations, particularly along the boards. However, it would be short-lived. At the 9:47 mark, Harvard’s freshman line of Ryan Maki-Kevin Du-Steve Mandes would create some more havoc that would result in a goal. Kolarik gains puck possession just inside the BU zone and then flings the puck at the net. Fields then makes the save but doesn’t have complete control of it. Not sure whereabouts the puck is, he decides to lay himself down hoping to have it underneath him. It is instead resting in the crease between his left arm and body. Both Du and Mandes are crashing the net and by the time Fields figures out exactly where the puck is, the Harvard youngsters have already taken two swipes at the puck, the second of which came off of the stick of Kevin Du and scored a goal. Steve Mandes would draw the lone assist on the goal. This made it 3-2 Harvard, and the Crimson would never look back. One area where the Terriers had their problems tonight was in taking penalties. Once again, a Terriers penalty would lead to a Crimson goal. At the 10:54 mark, Morrow was again the guilty party. This time it was for a holding call. At the 11:17 mark the Harvard power play would strike pay dirt, and senior forward Dennis Packard (TB) would score a goal that’s one for the highlight reels. The excellent passing along with the nice giev-and-go play between Welch and Cavanagh, created a situation where a BU defender would be isolated and before he could react to what was going on, the play (and puck) had already passed him by. Once the high slot defender was in a vulnerable position and unable to make a quick enough defensive move, Cavanagh makes a nice cross-ice pass to Pettit who fires a rocket at the BU net. Fields makes the initial save but has trouble controlling the rebound. Packard, who is parked right on Fields’ doorstep is there to jam it in past an out of position Fields for the goal. Pettit and Kolarik would be credited with the assists.
The final period would open with Harvard on the power play. At the 19:00 mark of the 2nd period, BU netminder Sean Fields was assessed a delay of game penalty for flinging the puck up into the mesh above the glass. For much of the first half of the period, Harvard decided to go into a defensive mode, taking numerous icing calls. Meanwhile, the Terriers were trying to get some flow into their game as well as the game itself since the pace had slowed considerably after Fields’ penalty was killed off. At the 17:19 mark, the Crimson would seal the Terriers fate in the game. Senior forward Rob Fried (FLA) makes an nice drop pass to junior defenseman Noah Welch (PIT). Welch, who’s an excellent two-way would show just why he’s considered one of the best offensive defenseman in the nation. He skates into the BU zone on Fields. He makes a couple of nice dekes to get Fields out of position before shooting the puck. Welch doesn’t score but he does credit make it difficult for Fields to corral the puck. With junior forward Rob Flynn (NYR) already in a battle with BU defenseman Kevin Schaeffer just to the left of Fields, the puck somehow stays out of the net. However, Flynn uses his tremendous strength to overpower Schaeffer to get his stick down and poke the puck into the net, but not before it rebounds off of Schaeffer’s skate. Flynn would be credited with the goal, with Welch and Fried drawing the assists.
What won the game for Harvard were a solid team effort and the incredible speed that the team possesses. What lost the game for the Terriers was the inability to finish their plays, despite some outstanding work by many of the Terriers players.
The player who was the most impressive for either team this evening was Harvard Defenseman Noah Welch. Welch is regarded by many to be the best defenseman in the NCAA right now and it’s not hard to see why. He’s an excellent two-way player who is exciting to watch. The level of skill he possesses is very high. He loves to jump up into play and yet can still be solid as a rock defending against opposing forwards. He’s smart, instinctive and an excellent playmaker.
Some of the other -who impressive tonight were the Packard-Cavanagh-Pettit and the Maki-Du-Mandes lines. The Cavanagh line is Harvard’s top line. It’s a line made up of some exceptionally talented players and skaters. Among the three, Dennis Packard stood out the most. For a man his size (6’5/225), he’s not only a great skater, but he’s got some speed to go along with it. He’s a player who’s tough to move or get around and possesses some nice hands. The freshman line of Ryan Maki-Kevin Du-Steve Mandes were effective in that they created all sorts of havoc early on in the game for the BU defenders and got a goal to show for it.
Among the Terriers, senior Kenny Magowan was absolutely brilliant tonight. He not only showed that he can score goals, but he showed tremendous hustle for puck possession and battled hard against the Harvard defenders. Head coach, Jack Parker had paired up Magowan with Skladany in hopes of getting Skladany to score, and it almost worked. However, it was not to be, but Magowan and Skladany could conceivably be paired up again. Another player of note for BU tonight was the play of sophomore forward John Laliberte (VAN) who did an excellent job in one-on-one situations creating a couple of good scoring chances. He was tough and he was gritty.
For Harvard this was their first win over BU since 1982. That had lost to BU four tstraight imes prior to this meeting.
BU faces off against another ECAC powerhouse, Dartmouth this weekend, while Harvard hosts conference rivals St. Lawrence and Clarkson.
OC- how did the NYR draftees look?
Flynn & Reese for Harvard
Roche for BU
Nice little scouting report on Welch. Boy, am I excited about this kid.
How's his skating coming? I know at one point in his life it was more of a weakness than a strength.
Nice job. :handclap: I hear nothing but good things about Welch. I am going to LOVE seeing him in Pittsburgh. :D
Roche was also quite good. Like Flynn, he excelled in the tight checking situations and was quite good in those one-on-one battles. He made some nice passing plays that led to a couple of BU scoring chances as well.
Great information and game summary.
You seem to have lots of information on Harvard - what can you say about who is moving on and what the team might look like next year. My son is being recruited and will have to make his decision in the next short while - what do you think about the team for next year?
At season's end, Harvard will lose these key players to graduation:
Forwards: Tim Pettit, Tyler Kolarik (CBJ), Rob Fried (FLA), Dennis Packard (TB)
Defencemen: Kenny Smith (EDM)
Goaltenders: Will Crouthers
Defenceman Noah Welch (PIT), who will be a senior next year should he choose to return, could leave early and turn pro this summer. From what I've read thus far, he might (and I stress might) be returning next fall to complete his collegiate career. Whether Welch will return or not next year, could have some serious implications on how well Harvard does next season. He's an integral part of this team both defensively and offensively, not to mention one of the leaders of this Harvard team.
With all that said, Harvard looks to be in pretty good shape for next season. They have an excellent core of youngsters already playing who will be back next season and looks to have a good incoming freshman class for the 2004-05 season. Furthermore, starting netminder Dov Grumet-Morris (PHI), who has become one of the best netminders in the country will likely be back for his senior season next fall.
I hope this helps.
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