While noisemakers reverberate around them, the members of the Harvard hockey team patiently wait for their New Year to come. And though tomorrow night's game at Northeastern falls in everyone else's 1979, injuries and intangibles are a painful reminder of what the ice life's been like for the past year and may well continue to be.
You want to forget about what happened last year at this time. A successful Western vacation trip was marred by an expanding injury list, and soon the scores were B.C. 7-0, B.C. 11-3, Clarkson 4-2- and Northeastern, 14-5.
But it's eerie when 12 months later you find that Gene Purdy's broken wrist will keep him out six to eight weeks, that George Hughes's bum knee will sideline him at least through tomorrow's game, and that Jack Hughes will also be out as the result of a suspension for fighting in the third period of the Minnesota-Duluth game. It's eerie, and you can't help but feel that once the cycle is broken, the New Year will start indeed.
Northeastern does not have the talent of Harvard this season, but that never means anything when two Beanpot teams get together. The Huskies are currently 1-2 in the ECAC with a 10-4 victory over lastplace Princeton to their credit. The losses came against suspension-decimated Boston College and man-child Providence.
Northeastern's leading scorer from last season, Scott Gruhl, has turned professional, but forwards Larry Parks, Mark Derby and Dale Ferdinandi are all back and can score. Twenty-seven-year-old sophomore Ed Arrington plays a potent goal between Social Security checks.
The Crimson carries a 2-5 ECAC slate into tomorrow night's contest on Huntington Ave., and with five Division One games in January, Harvard must win at least three to stay in contention for the post-season playoffs.
The Western trip was more of a learning experience than the Upset City encounters of the last three years. Harvard started its vacation schedule in an encouraging enough fashion, trouncing Notre Dame 9-5 at the Walter Brown Arena on December 23.
Freshman Mike Watson's hat-trick and senior Randy Millen's two goals spearheaded the icemen's most potent offensive showing of the year. Perhaps the most pleasant aspect of the win, though, was the rejuvenated Harvard power play, which notched four man-up tallies in six attempts against the Irish.
It's Cold Up There
The Crimson lost its first of two in Minnesota on December 27 when third-period goals 14 seconds apart gave the University of Minnesota a come-from-behind 5-4 victory.
Harvard, playing its typical no-pressure vacation hockey, gave the number one-ranked Golden Gophers all they could handle, as Wade Lau strung together two strong periods in goal. Tallies by freshmen Scott Powers and David Burke, and senior Murray Dea gave Harvard a 3-2 lead after two periods.
Burke's second goal of the night in the middle of the third made it a 4-3 puck game before the Gophers took the lead for the first time four minutes later en route to their triumph.
The following night the weary Crimson fell 8-3 to Minnesota-Duluth, as Harvard let a 2-2 score at the end of the first period balloon in its disfavor. Burke, who despite his tender age is establishing himself as the legitimate gunner for this team, popped all three tallies for the icemen, giving him six for the three vacation games and ten for the first half of the season.
THE NOTEBOOK: George Hughes, who leads the icemen in scoring with 9-12-21 (goals-assists-points) now needs just one point in his next game to pass Randy Roth '75 and move into fourth place on the all-time Harvard scoring parade.
From the "where are they now?" Department: At last check, former Harvard winger Danny Bolduc had five goals for the Detroit Red Wings.