Halfway through the second ECAC semifinal contest in the Boston Garden last night, most of the 13,044 fans were wondering what Harvard was doing there in the first place. By that time, Boston University had racked up a 6-1 lead on the way to running roughshod over Harvard, 8-4.
The Crimson squad simply wasn't in the same class with the Terriers, and it was evident from the start. B.U. jumped out to a 3-0 lead ten minutes into the game, converting on the first two Crimson penalties, and never looked back.
Harvard's defense, over-anxious to show that last Tuesday's containment of an explosive UNH squad was not a fluke, couldn't handle the fast-skating Terriers. In their eagerness to slow down B.U., Jim Liston and Kevin O'Donoghue were caught for holding at 6:19 and 7:06 of the first period.
Terry Meagher cashed in on Liston's penalty at 6:31, poking in a Peter Brown rebound on Brian Petrovek's doorstep. Mike Fidler's rising shot 1:26 later made it 2-0 with O'Donoghue watching from the box.
When Meagher scored his second goal at 9:26 and Bill Buckton made it four-zip at 16:43, after the Crimson defense handed the puck to the Terriers in their own end, it was evident that the Harvard squad did not belong on the same ice with number-one-ranked Boston University.
The Terriers are ready to lay claim to the Garden ice once again, as they face Brown tonight in the ECAC finals. Brown sent Cornell into the consolation game against Harvard (tonight, 6:15) in the earlier semifinal contest, by a 6-2 count.
The fans who thought the nightcap would be more exciting were filing out by the end of the second period. After George Hughes put Harvard on the scoreboard for the first time at 19:34 of the opening period, B.U. put the game out of reach in the second.
Bill Robbins converted another Terrier power play opportunity at 10:07 and Rick Meagher followed at 10:22 to make it 6-1. Kevin Carr tried to make a game of it, deflecting one past B.U. goalie Brian Durocher at 13:54, but Peter Marzo countered five minutes later to preserve a five-goal lead.
The second period was one of Harvard's worst ever, as the squad skated in circles while B.U. ripped off 14 shots on Petrovek. The Crimson offense tested Durocher only five times in the period.
The final stanza, however, was somewhat more respectable, as Dave Bell picked up two goals with his booming slap shot from the power play point. Bell blasted one past Durocher just 48 seconds into the third with Fidler in the penalty box, and again at 10:50 with Ken Kuzyk off the ice.
Carr poked one in a minute later, but it was disallowed by the referee and that was it for the Harvard rally. Fidler scored at 14:11 to send what fans were still around out to the exits.
After last Tuesday's four quarterfinal games, which all went down to the wire, last night's semifinal games were a real letdown. Boston University and Brown promise to make up for that this evening.