John Harvard's Journal
"A Force on the Ice"
Dominic Moore has a lamplighter's gifts.
There has been a Moore on the ice for Harvard since 1996, when Mark Moore '00 matriculated. His brothers, Steve '01 and Dominic '03, followed, making them the first fraternal trio to skate for the Crimson and only the sixth such triumvirate in college hockey history (see "Gimme Some Moore," March-April 2000, page 88). The brethren hail from Thornhill, Ontario, a suburb of Toronto ("the hockey capital of the world," says Dominic) and all three have been drafted by National Hockey League teams. Each Moore has his talents, but when it comes to scoring, Dominic has done, well, Moore than his elders.
Though the brothers have skated together since childhood, they never played on the same team before Harvard. "It was special--having [Mark and Steve] there," Dominic says. "And they are good to have on the team." But since Mark was a defender and Steve (last year's captain) and Dominic centered different lines, there were Moores on the ice together only for penalty kills and power plays--which did result in several fraternal goals by Steve and Dominic.
Dominic has a gift for "lighting the lamp"--turning on the red light behind the net that signals a goal. At Harvard, he started fast, posting 24 points on 12 goals and 12 assists as a freshman, then jumping to 44 points with 16 goals last year to lead the Crimson. The 6 foot, 1 inch, 193-pound Moore ranked among the ECAC's top five in eight offensive categories, including game-winning goals, in which he led the conference with six. "Dominic's an explosive skater," says head coach Mark Mazzoleni. "A lot of guys play at one speed. But Dominic has that ability to skate fast and then accelerate." Mazzoleni adds that Moore "plays with finesse, and has a strong feel for the game. Dominic has also made a commitment to becoming a better player. This year, for example, he gained 10 pounds of muscle mass in the off-season. That matters, because if you don't have strength, guys can lean on you when you have the puck."
Team Crimson is also gaining strength as they continue to improve under third-year coach Mazzoleni. In a preseason USA Today poll, Harvard ranked eighth in the country, after going unranked a year ago. Still, it's a young squad, with 16 freshmen and sophomores, and has had its problems early on. Harvard was upset by Brown, 4-2, and trounced by Vermont, 5-1, and hurt by injuries to forwards Aaron Kim '03 and Brendan Bernakevitch '05, and the abrupt departure of freshman defender Jesse Lane, who left to play professional ice hockey in the Quebec Major Junior A Hockey League. The youthful Crimson also paid the price for taking penalties that Mazzoleni considered "unnecessary"; Moore himself had to sit out the Cornell game due to a misconduct call near the end of a 3-3 tie with Dartmouth.
Yet Harvard's strengths augur well for the season ahead. Junior forward Brett Nowak, who was selected last year for the U.S. National Junior Team, scored the game-winner in overtime as Harvard upended Cornell, 4-3, in November, and got another goal plus an assist the next night in a 6-1 thrashing of Colgate. This year's freshmen include a big defender, Noel Welch, whose goal tied the Cornell game with only 40 seconds remaining in regulation. Another freshman, Tom Cavanagh, notched a goal and an assist against Cornell; his father is two-time all-American Joe Cavanagh '71. Sophomore forwards Tyler Kolarik and Tim Pettit skate on the line that Moore centers. One of the ECAC's finest, quickest skaters, Kolarik notched 28 points with 13 goals last year and led all players in scoring at the ECAC tournament with 3 goals and 6 assists. Pettit scored 31 points and 14 goals last year to become the top-scoring freshman in the ECAC; he was also Ivy League Rookie of the Year. Team captain Peter Capouch '02 anchors the defense.
The six tallies against Colgate suggested Harvard's offensive potential, and Moore, who had an assist that night, is one of those rare players with the "scoring gene." "It's mostly an instinctive thing," he says. "The game is so dynamic--you've got to be able to read and react, to be in the moment. You'll get some chances. One of the biggest keys is anticipating, seeing things before they happen."
Moore began building those skills during an athletic childhood, playing soccer, basketball, and tennis, and learning to skate at age two. His mother is a former triathlete and his father has won the Canadian over-50 tennis championship. (Dominic himself played on Harvard's tennis team as a freshman, but since then hasn't been able to make time for both racquet and stick.)
Following in his brothers' ice tracks, Dominic played his first hockey at four; the family made a rink for the boys in the backyard. In time he played with the Aurora Tigers in Canada's "Tier II Junior A" hockey league. ("Major Junior A" players are professionals, ineligible for intercollegiate hockey.) In his last year with Aurora--and senior year at St. Michael's, a boys' parochial school--he amassed 100 points on 36 goals and 64 assists in 60 games. He was his team's Most Valuable Player and a finalist for Player of the Year in the 40-team Ontario League.
At Harvard, Moore concentrates in sociology and hopes eventually to play professional hockey, as his older brothers are doing. Mark skates for a Pittsburgh Penguins farm team, and Steve is in the Colorado Avalanche organization. The New York Rangers drafted Dominic after his freshman year, giving them a right of first refusal should he turn pro.
But that is the future; the present is unfolding at Bright Hockey Center. Last year Harvard went 16-15-2, finishing second in the Ivies to Yale and third in the ECAC, having been seventh the year before. As the season progresses, look for the Crimson to try to get the puck to Moore when the score is tight and time is waning. "In the crucial parts of the game, he wants the puck on his stick," says Mazzoleni. "He's a real force on the ice."