The Harvard hockey team gets its first and possibly last chance to even its record tonight when it travels to Maine to meet hapless Bowdoin.
The frigid Polar Bears, who have been walloped by Brown 11-1 and Northeastern 13-1, will be the Crimson's easiest opponents of the year. Harvard lost 6-2 to Northeastern Wednesday in a relative squeaker, so if comparative scores mean anything, the Crimson can't miss.
If Bowdoin manages an upset tonight, Harvard will have little chance to climb back to the 500 mark. Next Wednesday the Crimson hosts Boston University, considered the best team in the East this season by a majority of Eastern hockey coaches. Then comes Army, who shellacked Harvard 5-1 last winter, and Brown, who has lost almost no one through graduation since splitting two close games with the Crimson last season.
All Harvard has to do tonight is score a goal to break the old club record of 103 straight games without being shut out. The last team to blank the Crimson was Providence in 1960, and Harvard has kept the Friars off its schedule ever since.
With defenseman Chip Scammon side-lined tonight with a virus, Pres Wolcott will probably join John Daly, Bob Clark, and Bob Coleman in Harvard's rear guard. Although the defense is the strongest part of this year's team, it had trouble Wednesday in clearing the puck from the fast and bruising Northeastern forwards. But Daly and Clark both proved themselves excellent body-checkers last year, and should be able to handle most comers.
Wade Welch, who came up with several excellent saves while holding North-eastern to just two goals in the first two periods, will probably be back in the nets. Harvard fans who were at Watson Wednesday will always cringe when they see Wade leave the goal to knock aside a pass, though. In his maiden attempt to emulate Jacques Plante, Welch skated 25 feet out, but missed the puck and could only watch it slowly slide into the net behind him.
Coach Cooney Weiland has been juggling his lines since the Northeastern bubble-burster. In the last two practices, he has kept Pete Sahlin as center on the line with Kenny Burnes and Jorge Gonzales, but he's moved Ed Zellner between Baldy Smith and Pete Miller. Gordie Price has centered for a variety of sophomores and juniors on the third line.
It's understandable that no combination has yet provided a consistent scoring punch. Smith has scored 57 varsity points, but the only others who played with the varsity last year--Burnes, Sahlin, Gonzales, and Price--totaled just 16 goals among them.