The temperature in Watson Rink yesterday was comparatively high, and the ice was slow and easily scratched. But the varsity skaters nevertheless put on a good first-practice exhibition, as nine out of last year's 17 lettermen joined a squad of 22 others for an afternoon of drills and scrimmages.
The sextet last year ran away with its seventh Ivy League crown out of nine, and had an overall record of 22 and 5, with losses to Cornell, Minnesota (2), Clarkson, and St. Lawrence. Another Ivy crown this season is probable, but it will be very difficult for the Crimson to match last season's outstanding record.
Coach Cooney Weiland's defense will be nearly the same as it was last year. All-American Dave Johnston, Mike Patterson, Harry Howell, and Ron, Thomson will again bulwark Weiland's tight defensive zone, and the success of many of the games will depend on them. Wood will be guarding the Crimson nets, but he is going to have a tough time filling the shoes of last year's Bob Bland.
Gene Kinasewich was practicing yesterday, but his chances of playing are increasingly doubtful. Captain Tim Taylor, Jerry Jorgenson, and Ike Ikauniks are the only other returning forwards that played consistently last year, but the team showed significant depth yesterday and should, as Weiland stated, "do all right."
The Crimson's first game is with the St. Nicholas Hockey Club of New York on Dec. 1, and St. Nick's is hungry for victory after losing to Harvard two years straight. The season's toughest games will again be with Clarkson, St. Lawrence, and Colorado College.
Last year's tilt with the powerful Clarkson sextet came early in the season. Sloppy passing and poor defensive play gave the Blue and Gold some very crucial breaks, and the Knights controlled the puck for most of the game, scoring five goals to the Crimson's three. Only superb goal-tending by Bland prevented a complete rout.
Colorado College also suffered two losses to the Crimson last year. They were nearly victorious last winter in the first game at the Broadmoor Rink in Colorado Springs: the score was tied 5 to 5 as the game drew to a close, but Tim Taylor slapped a shot past goalie Norm Lawrence in the final seconds.
The trip to the West was not entirely successful, however, for the skaters from Cambridge. An undefeated Minnesota team won, the first game with little effort 7-2; the second proved to be a bit more troublesome, but again the Gophers ended up on top, 4-3.
The varsity's only Ivy League defeat came at the hands of came at the hands of Cornell and ended a seven-game winning streak. "We just couldn't put the puck in the net," reported coach Weiland. The Big Red, who won 2-1, and thus captured their first victory over the Crimson in 51 years, scored first at 12:32 of the second period on a rebound shot. It added a second goal at 8:02 of the final period on a screen shot from the blue line. The Crimson's lone goal was scored by Ikauniks at 11:02 on a pass from defenseman Harry Howell.