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January 16, 2012

College Stars: Freshman Blackwell giving Harvard plenty to celebrate

For someone who wasn't even supposed to play college hockey this winter, Colin Blackwell is doing remarkably well.

The freshman forward from North Andover has four goals and five assists for Harvard.

"It's been an absolute blast," said Blackwell, who last winter tallied 33 goals and 33 assists in 25 games to break the immortal Bobby Carpenter's 31-year-old St. John's Prep single-season scoring record.

"I struggled a little at first. The first 2-4 games, I got a taste of what it's all about. All the guys are bigger, faster, stronger."

On Nov. 22, Blackwell proved he belonged, leading the Crimson back from a 4-0 deficit for a stirring 7-6 win over UNH. He netted the tying and go-ahead goals.

"They were doing pretty well, ranked high," said Blackwell, who was ESPNBoston's Massachusetts Mr. Hockey last winter. "To beat a Hockey East team, down 4-0, it was a big win. It was an awesome experience. It gave me a lot of confidence."

His four goals have all been in the third period and all have been crucial for the 4-6-6 Crimson. In addition to the UNH pair, he scored to seal the win over No. 12 Colgate and tallied a highlight-film spinning beauty to tie RPI.

The original plan was for him to play a year of juniors, but the rebuilding Crimson were impressed enough in March to have him play immediately.

He hasn't disappointed.

"We're always surprised when a player comes in as an 18-year-old freshman (he turns 19 on March 28) and has the kind of success that Colin has had right off the bat," said Harvard coach Ted Donato, the former Bruin. "But we certainly had very high hopes for him. With his track record of playing his best in big games, we knew he'd be able to elevate his game to the next level."

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