The Harvard hockey team, on the verge of mathematical extinction from the ECAC playoffs even before the puck is dropped for the Beanpot, will attempt to justify its current 14th place standing in Division One when it faces the league's worst team, Princeton (0-9-3), this afternoon at Baker Rink.
The pervading sentiment on the Crimson at this point in time is to rescue its sad play in time for the Beanpot tournament Monday night. With the squad's current 3-9-0 mark in ECAC play, post-season ice time looks non-existent. But, as forward George Hughes pointed out after Wednesday night's 5-3 loss in Providence, "Winning the Beanpot can justify any season."
But what of the current foe? The Tigers, perennial basement material, shocked Harvard at Baker Rink last February 6-3 for their first triumph over the Crimson since LBJ's Great Society. You may want to forget that the icemen had lost 4-3 at Penn the evening before and then dropped their next four games to fall headlong out of the ECAC top eight.
But Penn has since dropped its hockey program, and, unfortunately, the Lost Weekend has been replaced by Harvard's Lost Winter of 1978-79.
Princeton, meanwhile, graduated masochistic netminder Fred Cherne, the man who beat the Crimson last year, and has no one to take his place. Nevertheless, the squad does have some proven performers in Craig Tresham, Trevor Kilburn, Peter DeLorey, and Cliff Lawrick.
John Hynes said that he "was told he'd get the start against Princeton a week ago," but little did anyone know that the junior would be the only choice in goal for this afternoon's game, and most likely the Beanpot. A little over a minute into the second period of the Providence game, a P.C. forward slid into starting goalie Wade Lau. The freshman strained the medial collatoral ligament in his right knee and it is speculated that he may not be back for as long as two weeks.
Hynes played spectacularly in the final two periods against Providence, and the 39-19 shot margin for the Friars in that game leads one to believe that Harvard's problems lie around the other team's cage, not theirs.
The paltry good news to report is that junior defenseman Jack Hughes topped Chris Gurry's career record for assists (5) Wednesday and now need just a point to pass Gurry and become the all-time leading scorer among Harvard backliners.