In contrast to the swimming meet, tonight's battle between Harvard and Yale on the frozen water of bizarre-shaped Ingalls Rink, commonly referred to as Yale Whale, will not reach earth-shaking proportions.
In fact, the only note of interest attached to the game is that an Eli victory will give the squad its best season in six years. For the Crimson, a win would be good for building momentum toward Tuesday's quarterfinals of the ECAC tourney, but a loss would not be a disaster.
Nevertheless, the Crimson icemen are favored to destroy the Bulldogs for the second time in a week and should finish out the season with an impressive 16-3-1 record. Yale was eliminated from the ECAC tournament by Brown last week, and as Bruin mentor Alan Soares put it, "after that they pretty much packed it up for the season."
Following the Brown game, Yale junior defenseman Dave Starkman put away his gear and decided not to finish the season. He plans to graduate next January and as coach Paul Lufkin explained. "He felt that with the team removed from playoff contention, his spot could be better filled by someone else."
Four Blue Seniors
The four Eli seniors, Sam Aluni, Don Craig, Dean Boylan and Steve Whalen, who will be playing their last game tonight, have never beaten Harvard at the varsity level. The Crimson has dumped Yale in the last seven meetings, and the prospect of Yale reversing the trend tonight appears minimal.
For Harvard, the only question mark is sophomore forward Jim Thomas. Thomas was injured in the Brown game Wednesday and was forced to leave the game with a bruised thigh. The injury isn't that serious, but Cleary may rest him in anticipation of the ECACs next Tuesday.
So, barring some earthshaking disaster such as half of the team coming down with hepatitis, tonight's game should be a good tune-up for the Crimson icemen as they head for the national championship.