Harvard Six Faces Slumping Quakers
Icemen Regroup for Ivy Encounter at Penn
Despite rumors to the contrary, the Harvard hockey team is alive and well, still in first place in the ECAC, and traveling to Philadelphia tonight for an encounter with the struggling Pennsylvania Quakers. Starting time for the match at Penn's Class of '23 Rink is 7:30 p.m.
The Quaker icemen are currently fighting for their ECAC lives, mired in 10th place with a 7-9-1 Division One record. "We have our backs to the wall and we'll have to do something about it," coach Bob Crocker said. "Hopefully, we can return to the play that gave us some big wins earlier."
Two weeks ago, the Red and Blue upset perennial power Cornell, pulling out a 3-2 shocker in overtime. Before that, the Penn sextet stunned a heavily-favored squad from the University of New Hampshire, 6-4, and nailed St. Lawrence by a 6-3 count. But since the Cornell victory, three losses in four league games have severely damaged Quaker hopes for an ECAC playoff berth.
The Pennsylvania offense is led by captain Mark Irwin, a junior center who has picked up eight goals and 16 assists in 18 games Joining him on the Quaker first line are sophomore Jim Hodge (8-14--22) and junior Ed Parkinson (9-8--17). In its last three games, however, the Pennsylvania offense has contributed to the team's slump by producing a total of just five goals.
The Red and Blue netminding chores are usually handled by junior Tony Ciresi who sports a 3.33 goals-against average and a .907 save percentage in Ivy League play.
In his most recent effort against Brown. Cireal was bombed for five goals in less than 30 minutes, leading to speculation that sophomore Carl Jackson may start in goal tonight against Harvard. Jackson replaced Ciresi in the Brown game, holding the Bruins in check for the remainder of the 5-2 Quaker defeat.
Brian Petrovek, the undeserving object of some criticism after Monday night's Beanpot fiasco, will probably be in the nets for Harvard once again tonight. In the 7-2 loss to B.U., Petrovek watched his usually dependable defense crumble before the Terrier onslaught, and was forced to make a record 55 saves.
The sophomore is by far the leading goaltender in Ivy League competition (Harvard is 6-0 in the league), having allowed just 2.20 goals per game in five appearances.
Captain Randy Roth still leads the Crimson offense in scoring with 13 goals and 17 assists. Wings Jim Thomas and Jim McMahon are tied for second at 15-11--26, and center Kevin Carr is fourth with 6-18--24.
Pennsylvania is in the unenviable position of facing an angry, frustrated Harvard squad tonight in a game the Quakers must win to stay alive in ECAC competition. Harvard already owns a victory over the Quakers, a 7-3 decision at Watson Rink highlighted by two-goal performances by Thomas and Roth.
In search of its second consecutive Ivy League championship, Harvard has only six games remaining on its schedule, all against Ivy opponents. After that comes the ECAC playoffs, and potentially another shot at the B.U. Terriers.