The Harvard hockey team can only hope the rest of 1981 shapes up a little better.
Entering the new year at full strength and with high hopes for an upset victory, the Crimson went the stale corn flake route at McHugh Forum last night, reaching high into the nether regions of ineptitude to come up with a 6-2 loss to Boston College.
The loss, Harvard's fifth in six games, leaves the icemen with a 5-7 overall mark that includes five defeats in nine ECAC starts. But it wasn't just losing that made Crimson coach Bill Cleary close the dressing room door for the first time this season. That treatment was reserved for the hesitant, somnolent skating of his squad that featured new and imaginative mental errors at both ends of the ice.
The game actually ended 17 minutes into the first period, when the Crimson found away to turn a power play into a post-Christmas sale, gift-wrapping two shorthanded goals for B.C.'s Bobby Hehir and Mark Switaj at 17:20 and 17:45 respectively.
Those markers put the Eagles up, 4-1, and Harvard never really threatened after that, relying on an impotent power play (only a couple of actual opportunities in 14 minutes of man-up hockey) to keep them out of the game.
"We stunk, we were lousy," Cleary said after the game while his charges dressed in silence. "We played terribly, there's nothing else to say."
Yesterday marked the return of forwards Greg Britz, Phil Falcone and Tom Murray, all of whom had been idled by injuries. Falcone, teaming with Rick Benson and David Burke to form the only productive Crimson line of the evening, scored his second goal of the season, stuffing his own rebound past B.C.'s Bob O'Connor at 15:16 of the second period to narrow the margin to 5-2.
But that tally, coming at the tail-end of one of the worst offensive stretches of the season for the icemen, brought Harvard as close as it was going to come.
The Crimson skated well for the first few minutes of the final stanza, but lapsed into lethargy after failing to score, and played out the string the rest of the way.
The Eagles' heralded top line of Billy O'Dwyer, Mike Ewanouski and Lee Blossom combined for four goals and eight points on the night, and it was O'Dwyer's second of the game and tenth of the year, a power-play goal eight minutes into the final stanza, that rounded out the scoring of the game that had actually ended an hour before.
And just as a postscript to the bad news, Harvard's top defenseman Mark Fusco appeared to reinjure his knee during first period play, and suffered from a lack of mobility the rest of the way. Fusco is not using crutches, but he is limping somewhat. The extent of the injury will have to wait until an examination this afternoon.
THE NOTEBOOK--Cleary's habit of pounding on the boards behind the bench finally took its toll last night. One especially aggravating Harvard miscue cracked a pane of the brittle Forum glass, necessitating extensive repairs during the second period. The incident brings to mind a game at McHugh a few years ago when Harvard defenseman Jim Trainor slammed into the glass at extreme velocity and shattered shards all over the ice. That contest was held up a good half hour.
Boston College 6, Harvard 2 at McHugh Forum
1st period--BC, Ewanouski 5 (Chisholm, Blossom), 3:28; H, Benson 2 (unassisted), 6:37; BC, Ewanouski 6 (blossom, O'Dwyer), 10:58; BC, Hehir 4 (Sampson), 17:20; BC, Sitaj 3 (unassited), 17:45.
2nd period--BC, O'Dwyer 9 (Cowies, McCarran), 8:44; H, Falcone 2 (Burke, Benson), 15:16.
3rd period--BC, O'Dwyer 10 (Cowies, Ewanouski), 8:39.
Lau (H) 10-12-10--32
O'Connor (BC) 12-10-10--32