Harvard plays its last home hockey game of the semester against Cornell tonight at 8 p.m. at Watson Rink. The young Big Red is the favorite on the strength of its 9-4 record, but as Harvard proved in nearly upsetting Boston College last Wednesday, anything can happen at Watson.
Harvard's 4-8 mark may not be too impressive, but its performance in losing by just 3-2 to B.C. indicates that it can keep up with the best the East has to offer. The Crimson's skating and forechecking showed particular improvement Wednesday night.
Cornell is hardly what you'd call a low-scoring team--in its last game it edged Hamilton 19-0. The team only finished fourth in the Ivy League last year, but this season has a terrific crop of sophomores, including the three Ferguson brothers from Saskatchewan. There isn't a single senior on the varsity.
Of particular interest to Harvard fans is Big Red defenseman Bob Kinasewich, the sophomore brother of last year's Harvard captain Gene Kinasewich. Cornell reports that Bob isn't the great skater that Gene is, but that he's a steady player with his brother's potential.
Going into tonight's game, Harvard's Ivy League record consists of just its 9-2 collapse to Brown last month. Cornell is 1-1, with a 7-3 victory over Princeton and a 2-1 upset loss to Yale.
Although Dartmouth has 13 lettermen returning from its last season's Ivy champions, Brown is favored to win the league title this year. The feeling around the league is that Dartmouth only beat out Brown last season because the Indians' Ivy foes often happened to have a lot of injuries or not enough rest when they met Dartmouth. Brown, this theory continues, was the better team, but had worse luck.
Bruins Among Best
With its 11-3 record, Brown is currently the third-best team in the entire East. The Bruins have league wins over Harvard and Yale, and a non-league victory over Cornell. It's becoming hard to see how any one in the league can touch them this year.
Cornell has a slight edge over Dartmouth for league runner-up. The Big Red has terrific scoring power and a young team that will improve as the season wears on.
Dartmouth, with a 6-2 overall record and a 7-4 victory over Yale in the league, should be able to hold on to third place. Doug Hayes and Dean Mathews could grab the Ivy scoring honors.
There will be quite a scramble among the Big Three for the best of the last three Ivy berths. With a little luck any of them could move into the first division.
One of These Days
Harvard's record to date isn't overwhelming, but pretty soon it's bound to start pulling off upsets instead of just near-misses.
Yale's 4-7 mark includes wins over powerful Northeastern and tough Cornell. Bolstered by last season's undefeated freshman team, the Eli have a good chance of improving on last year's last-place finish.
Even lowly Princeton is showing some some signs of life this season. As victories over R.P.I. and Dartmouth (In a non-league game) show, the Tigers won't be out of the race either.