Icemen Win ECAC's
Saturday night, in a your-grandchildren-will-never-believe-this setting, Harvard's retiring hockey coach, Cooney Weiland, walked off the Boston Garden ice arm-in-arm with his All-American captain, Joe Cavanagh, for the last time to the ovation of dejected Cornell fans, B. U. cheerleaders, emotional alumni, local rink rats, and Section 18 fans in a state of complete shock.
Cooney had the ECAC championship trophy trucked under his arm, a piece of silverware that had seemed as unattainable to Harvard fans as the Stanley Cup is to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Cooney's team had just climaxed an impossible weekend by beating
Clarkson, 7-4, to earn a trip to the Nationals as the number one team in the East.
Only ten days ago, beaten by good and bad teams alike and frustrated in every big game for three months. Harvard was a long way from number one, and everyone, except apparently the team, had given up.
But Friday night's upset over B. U. set off a ticket hunt that cleaned out the Out-of-Town Ticket Agency in the Square and made a $3.50 obstructed seat or a friend in the band a coveted possession.
Those who managed to squeeze in among the capacity crowd of more than 14,000 were well rewarded. Recovering from a few first period defensive lapses, the Crimson skated Clarkson off the ice.
Sophomore Dave Hynes, the Most Valuable Player of the tournament, led Harvard's unstoppable forwards and clearly emerged into super-star status. Hynes's sophomore linemates, Billy Corkery and Bob McManama, each contributed a goal to bring the second line's total for the game to five, a great performance in any game but an extraordinary one against the top goal-tender in the East. Clarkson's Bruce Bullock.
It was the senior line of Joe Cavanagh, Cooch Owen, and Dan DeMichele that kept Harvard in the game in the first period, however. Cavanagh, playing the last of his many great games in the Garden, started off the scoring, knocking in the rebound of a DeMichele drive at 0:59 with a behind-the-back shot.
Clarkson roared back for three quick goals in the space of four minutes, but DeMichele narrowed the gap to one at 8:30, bombing a slapshot after taking a feed from Cavanagh.
Clarkson beat goalie Bruce Durno once again in the final minute of the period, and it was obvious that Harvard's defense was not playing the same game that stifled B. U.
But Clarkson penalties gave Harvard a breather in the second period, and as the defense regained its confidence, the second line started off on its scoring streak.
McManama picked up the first of the sophomores' goals, taking Hynes's pass inside the blue line and driving a slapshot over Bullock's shoulder at 7:15. Clarkson proceeded to take the most brutal of its cheap shots, decking Durno from behind, and Harvard struck again on Hynes's power play goal.
There was an element of justice in this fourth and tying goal. Clarkson plays a very rough, close-checking game, and its roughness provided the turning point signalling its downfall.
The Golden Knights were helplessly flat in the third period, and the sophomore line was flying. Harvard had been unable to take the lead in the second period, but it was obvious that Clarkson was due to get murdered in the final 20 minutes.
Hynes broke the tie at 5:24, deflecting a shot off his chest and into the net. Two minutes later, he upped the score to 6-4 on a 40-foot slapshot, converting a long pass from McManama. Harvard's final goal came at 13:13, this time off the stick of Billy Corkery on the rebound of a McManama shot.
The scoring was confined to the first two lines, but the credit is not. The forechecking of Harvard's third line of Tommy Paul, Jay Riley, and Harry Reynolds kept the pressure on the Clarkson defense and proved crucial to Harvard's success in the tournament.
The third line's sudden emergence into a unit with scoring potential is probably due to the addition of Reynolds. Although he spends about 25 per cent of every game on his back, and he can hardly be called a finesse hockey player, Reynolds, in the words of Cornell's ex-coach Ned Harkness, "did a tremendous job."
The only sobering news of an evening that ended in a very unsobering way came while the hockey team was drinking itself under the table at the Casa B. At 2 a. m. the ECAC selection committee, composed of athletic directors from Merrimack, St. Lawrence, and U. N. H., decided to break precedent and send third-ranked B. U. to the Nationals.
The Terriers, who defeated Cornell 6-5 in the consolation, were picked over Clarkson on the basis of their outstanding season record and victory over Clarkson earlier in the season.