Ice Hockey Teams Start Seasons...

by David Sherzer | 11/2/01 6:00am

Harvard Weekend may have officially taken place last weekend, but for the Dartmouth men's hockey team, this is it.

The Big Green will open its season Sunday in Cambridge against the hated Crimson in both teams' first true test of their high expectations. Dartmouth brings a No. 15 ranking into Bright Hockey Center while Harvard is tops in the ECAC at No. 11 in the country.

It is a bitter rivalry, one that played out in three hotly contested games last season. Harvard beat Dartmouth, 5-2, last November in Cambridge before the Big Green crushed the Crimson, 7-0, last February in one of the more memorable games in school history. The teams' third meeting was in the ECAC consolation contest in Lake Placid, N.Y., with Harvard grabbing a 3-2 overtime triumph.

Without a doubt, emotions will be high as the ECAC and Ivy title hopefuls clash again this Sunday.

"We've been gearing up for this game since we played them in Lake Placid," centerman Frank Nardella '02 said. "It's the season opener, so that's big. And I think playing Harvard adds a little something extra. We'll be raring to go."

The Big Green went 1-1 against a couple of Canadian schools during the preseason, averaging 52 shots in those contests.

With a talented, veteran presence up front, the Dartmouth offense should be fine on Sunday. The game will hinge on whether the Big Green blueliners and goaltender Nick Boucher '03 can stop a Harvard attack that plays especially tough at home.

"Harvard is a traditionally strong team," Nardella said. "We're looking to set a good tone for our season and a win against Harvard would do it."

Dartmouth should be aided somewhat by the fact that Harvard will be playing its second game in as many nights; the Crimson opens it season against weak Brown tomorrow.