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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

ECAC Season Preview - Harvard

Harvard Crimson

Last Years Finish - 4th

Key Returnees - Kevin Du Sr. F, Jon Pelle Jr. F, Dylan Reese Sr. D

Key Losses - John Daigneau G, Dan Murphy F, Charlie Johnson F

Harvard returns one of the most balanced scoring offenses in the league and 7 of their top 10 scoring leaders. Combine this with a team that returns 17 of it's regular skaters from a team that won the league tournament and Harvard is prime position to compete for a first round bye. Head coach Ted Donato is entering his third season at the helm and has been to the championship game twice. As he continues to build the team to his liking Harvard will continue to hold on to a top spot in the league.

The biggest knock on Harvard is their league play. Over the past five years Harvard has been to the ECAC championship game five times. In those five years they have been as high as the two seed and as low as the sixth seed. The Crimson have a knack for winning in the ECAC post season despite their finish in the regular season. This inconsistency is hard to explain but Harvard has always had the talent to finish in the top four of the league every year, this year is no different. Up front the Crimson are lead by seniors Kevin Du and Ryan Maki, and juniors John Pelle and Paul Dufault. All of which tallied at least 20 points last year. Du, the leading scorer, will look to become one of the top tier forwards in the league. Last year Du was the lone Harvard forward selected to an All-ECAC team. Expect sophomore Jimmy Fraser to see more ice time and work his way on to the scoresheet.

On defense the Harvard will turn to the senior Dylan Reese, who was an All-ECAC second teamer to lead the Crimson. Reese along with sophomore Brian McCafferty will be expected to tow the load left by departed seniors Peter Hafner and Tom Walsh. Reese will have to get the young blueliners to gel early on but expect junior Dave McDonald and sophomore Jack Christian to contribute regularly on defense and to start to chip in on offense for the Crimson.

In net is were Harvard will need a player to step up. Senior Justin Tobe has 11 career games under his belt and sophomore Mike Cosken only one. The loss of Daigneau will be a factor until a replacement can be found. Harvard has had luck with unknown goalies in the past however in Dov Gromet-Morris and Daigneau, however it will be a question mark for Donato in the early going.

Harvard is a team that can easily finish in the second tier of the ECAC if things do not click in net. However Ted Donato knows how to motivate his players and with a solid offensive attack and a up and coming defense there is no reason why Harvard wont contend for a first round bye.

Best Case Finish - 2nd
Worst Case Finish - 6th

CHF's Pick - 3rd


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