The varsity sextet will have to fight hard tonight to defeat a surprisingly strong Brown team in the opening Ivy League contest for both at Rhode Island. Auditorium, but the battling will be done with hockey sticks rather than fists. Coach Cooney Weiland announced yesterday that any of his players who gets into a fight will be banished from the team for the rest of the season.
Weiland's move followed the full-scale brawl between the Crimson and Toronto in the final period of the title game in the Boston Arena Christmas Hockey Tournament.
In that tournament the Brown Bruins surprised almost everyone by upsetting B.U., 3 to 2, in the opening round before bowing to Toronto and Providence by single-goal margins, 3 to 2 and 2 to 1, respectively.
The Bruins' goalie, Rod McGarry, was voted the outstanding individual player in the tournament, turning away a total of 117 shots in three games. Against Providence, the stocky junior held the Friars scoreless until 14:12 of the final period. While his teammates, skated senseless by the speedy Toronto team the day before, permitted a barrage of 41 shots.
In front of McGarry will be his stalwart defensemen, co-captains Brian Mulloy and A1 Soares, who rarely leave the ice. At center will be high scorer Dave Kelley, a swift skater who tallied the only goal against Providence, and was involved in all three goals against B.U.
Both of the starting wings who skate with Kelley were injured during the Christmas Tournament, and only Dave Laub has a chance of playing. In place of Bob Battle, who has a kidney injury, will be either Ed Jones or John D'Entremont.
On comparative scores, the Crimson seems no more than Brown's equal. The Bruins have a 7-5 record, compared to the varsity's 4-3-2 mark. Although the Crimson edged Providence, 5 to 4, in the semi-final round, it was soundly thrashed by Toronto in the finals, 7 to 2.
The low scores indicate Brown's style of play. Since the Bruins' scoring punch rests in only a few men and their bench is one of the thinnest in the East, they play tight, defensive hockey. While they don't pack their goal as weak teams, like Cornell and Tufts, are wont to do, they practice little forechecking, and attempt to pick up the opponents' wings at center ice.
Harvard will probably play much the same kind of game, especially with the Clarkson contest only two days away. Unless trailing in the third period, the varsity will confine its checking to its own half of the ice.
The Crimson defense will be strengthened by Weiland's switch of first line center Dave Grannis to the first defensive pair, which includes captain Mike Graney. Instead of working as a relief man for the first pair, Bob Anderson will skate with Greg Downes as a second defensive team.
Tom Heintzman, who with Grannis netted a total of eight goals against the Bruins freshmen last year, will skate between Dave Morse and Bruce Thomas on the first line. The second trio will be Crocker Snow, Bill Beckett, and Stew Forbes, while Jim Dwinell, Jim Cotter, and Dean Alpine will play on the third line. Hoping to wear down the Brown defensemen, Weiland will use Dave Crosby and Ted Ingalls for spot duty on the three lines.
Depth may well make the difference. Brown skated only five alternates in the Providence game, and if it hopes to reverse the 6-1 and 6-4 losses it suffered last year at the hands of the Crimson, McGarry may have to be near-miraculous in the goal.