The Harvard hockey team struck out Saturday night at the Boston Garden, losing its third game of the year to Yale, 6-5. The Crimson had gone to bat for a .500 season mark, third place in the Ivy League, and a possible bid to the ECAC playoffs--and went off the ice frustrated, humiliated, and empty-handed.
Yale was outplayed, and seemed to win the game by magic. The Crimson forwards swung away with the abandon of batting practice, and if you totalled the square feet of open cage Harvard shot at, you would have a very broad side of a barn.
The romp-that-never-was started on schedule, when Ben Smith capitalized on an Eli defenseman's gaffe and scored from 20 feet after a minute and 18 seconds of play. For Harvard, the rest of the period was missed opportunities; for Yale, it was a tying goal on a solo drive by Pete Markle.
Sophomore Barry Allardice put the Elis ahead twice in the second stanza. Jack Garrity brought the Crimson even at 7:46, and Dennis McCullough, set up by Smith's steal and feed, tied the score again at 13:07.
It looked as if Harvard was finally going to register its superiority on the scoreboard as well as on the ice when Kent Parrot put the Crimson ahead, 4-3, only a minute later. Yale was a man down when Parrot swooped in on the rebound of Tag Demment's long shot and crashed it behind the goalie.
By the end of the second period, Yale's Zef Fessenden--not a great goalie--had made 31 saves, compared with 13 for Harvard's Dexter Newton; but the Crimson was only one goal up.
The third period was a real shocker.
Junior Marty Sear rammed in a bouncing pass from Allardice, cashing in on the kind of chance Harvard missed a half dozen times. Two minutes later, sophomore Bob Keith barrelled down the left unchecked and banged home a rebound to give Yale a 5-4 lead.
McCullough tied it up at 16:18, cleanly beating Fessenden with a forehand drive on a long rebound off a shot by Parrot.
But only 15 seconds later, Keith put the winning goal through Newton, after the Crimson defensemen collided and lost the puck.
With this defeat, the Crimson in one season matched the total number of losses to Yale over the previous 13 years.
But just as disappointing as the loss's harm to the record is its demonstration that this potentially outstanding team showed no improvement during the course of the season. The defense especially, which was the guilty party Saturday, was just as bad as it was at the season's very beginning--despite, or perhaps because of, Coach Cooney Weiland's constant shuffling.
It was a hard exit for Harvard's seniors. A minor tragedy was Dex Newton who waited till the last week of his senior year for his chance, then played outstandingly--only to lose to Yale when his defense let in six goals. And Captain Bobby Clark closed his three-year varsity career with an inspirational effort, also to no avail.