The first annual ECAC hockey tournament begins tonight at four scattered points around the East. The injury-riddled varsity hockey team, seeded second, will face seventh-ranked Army at 8 p.m. in Watson Rink. Coach Cooney Crimson sextet has a 20-4 record; Jack Riley's Cadets stand at 18-5-1.
Meanwhile, at Potsdam, N.Y., first-seeded Clarkson meets Providence (8). Colby (3) skates against R.P.I. (6) at Me., and St. Lawrence (4) takes on Boston College (5) at Canton, N.Y. Semi-final and final rounds will be Friday and Saturday nights at the Boston Arena.
, sporting the East's most impressive record, 18-1-1, should have little trouble with inconsistent Providence (8-7- Colby, with an 18-3-3 mark and Ron Ryan, the nation's leading scorer this year with 100 points, is favored over R.P.I. (15-6). St. Lawrence (14-6-1) and B.C. (15-11-1) should go down to the wire in the most evenly matched of all the firstround clashes.
The Crimson whipped Army, 5 to 1, in December, but several factors make a repetition of this feat somewhat unlikely. Even though the Cadets held the varsity to a scoreless tie until 18:10 of the second period, they were playing without their star, Jerry Stonehouse. Stonehouse has tallied 88 points for the Cadets since returning to action after Christmas.
And the Crimson's growing injury list is no longer a laughing matter. Chris Norris, who scored a hat-trick against the Cadets, will be slowed by the effects of a collision with a Yalie last Saturday. Although Tim Taylor is out of the infirmary, his injured leg will still hamper his movements; and Ike Ikauniks will be skating with a painful heel injury.
The varsity's crippled offense will have to cope with one of the East's best goalies, Ron Chisolm. Chisolm came up with 62 saves against the Crimson the last time around. And if anything should happen to the varsity's thin defense corps, it might mean the ball game. Recently, defense has not been an especially strong position for the Crimson as it is, and Weiland can hardly afford to play captain Dave Grannis there, in view of the increasingly desperate line situation.
Tickets for the Harvard-Army game are still available at 60 Boylston St.