The fact that the varsity hockey team did not win last night's game until 19:27 of the final period is rather exciting but terribly misleading.
The winning score over visiting Clarkson Tech, last year's unofficial Eastern Champions, was 2 to 1; but if based on the playing ability of the two teams, it should have been 7 to 0. Only Clarkson's outstanding goalie-captain, Ed MacDonald, prevented this outcome.
The victory was a very important one for the Crimson. It dropped Clarkson from the unbeaten class after it had amassed a 4-0 record. If coupled with a win over St. Lawrence on Thursday, the triumph could set the Crimson up as the East's number one team.
The Crimson's secret of success against the Pottsdam "Black Knights" was pace--a pace so hard and fast both on offense and defense that Clarkson was never able to catch up with the varsity skaters.
Before the game Coach Cooney Weiland commented that he thought he had solved the team's biggest problem, slow backchecking. during recent practice sessions. The sextet's performance last night proved this.
Clarkson's only tally was accidental, lucky and foolish on the varsity's part. This goal at 7:25 of the second period, which made the game so tense, was unfortunately poked past goalie Tab Cleary by the Crimson.
On the other hand, the varsity's goals were well-executed. With five minutes left in the game, center Bud Higgenbottom shot a pass from his own blue line to Dick Reilly waiting alone at the Clarkson blue line. Reilly skated down the side at an awkward angle, and fired a high shot to the upper lefthand corner of Clarkson's cage. MacDonald could only manage to deflect it into the center of the cage.
The winning score can be attributed to an alert play by Dick Fisher. He slapped the puck past MacDonald after taking a hard pass from Dave Vietze at 19:27 of the final period.
Clarkson had one or two fast skaters who occasionally showed up with some slick passing, but they were thoroughly outdone by the excellent performances of the Crimson's three centers.
Captain Bob Cleary delighted the crowd with his brilliant "winding-up" plays and was very consistent in outskating every Clarkson player. The potential combination of Lyle Guttu and Cleary is undoubtedly the greatest in the East.
Bob McVey showed the potential that made him such a standout last season. The Black Knights simply could not steal the puck from him. The same was true with the more calculated playmaking of Higgenbottom, who added an important boost to the sextet's third line.
The Crimson defense was unbeatable. Both combinations--with Bow Owen leading the way--kept Clarkson from setting up plays within the Crimson zone very effectively. Tab Cleary coolly handled all his chances.
However, it is still too early to rejoice. The Crimson must now face powerful St. Lawrence, who tripped Boston University on Monday, 5 to 4, before getting tripped by B.C., 1 to 0 last night.
St. Lawrence's play is very similar to Clarkson's, however. It should take only a little more of the drive the Crimson showed last night to beat them quite handily.
This theoretical win over St. Lawrence could be easy if: (1) the first line can connect with goals instead of two-inch misses, (2) the defense does not let up at any moment during the game, (3) goalie Tab Cleary can remain as cool but be more cautious, and (4) the whole team can maintain the same pace it did last night. In this case, no luck will be needed.