The Harvard hockey team was granted a reprieve by the ECAC selection, committee -- the question at 8 p.m., tonight in the Boston Arena will be what can the Crimson do with it?
Harvard, seeded eight after its 10-11 Division I record, is pitted against the top seed. Boston University, B.U. has not lost a game against Eastern college opposition all year, and the Terriers have topped the Crimson twice.
But the Crimson cause is by no means a lost one. B.U.'s slate is marred only by two losses at Denver and a tie with Cornell, but the wins over Harvard didn't come easily.
In the first meeting at the Arena Christmas Tournament, an inexperienced Crimson squad led 5-4 before succumbing, 7-5, to a late comeback. Then in the Beanpot Tournament. B.U. was held even for two periods before exploding, 8-3.
Coach Jack Kelley has had unusual respect for the Crimson team all season and considers it the toughest first-round opponent his squad could have drawn.
Harvard's three-line attack has been balancing out in the last week and should continue to score against B.U. Stopping Herb Wakabayashi, Serge Boily. Fred Bassi and their high-scoring mates will be the major problem.
A lot-of pressure will be on Crimson goalie Billy Diercks, left alone in the nets by senior Bill Fitzsimmons's frustrated resignation last week. The cool sophomore has had brilliant periods in recent games and should be ready for the big game performance tonight.
Tickets, priced at $1.50 and $2.00, will be on sale today at 60 Boylston St.
If Harvard wins tonight it will move into the semifinals at the Boston Garden Thursday with the winners of the Cornell-Brown. Boston College-Clarkson, and St. Lawrence-Yale games.