During the three weeks of practice which the University hockey squad has just completed, the prospects for a fast and dependable team have been steadily growing brighter. With much good material at his disposal, Coach Winsor should succeed in working up a seven as strong as last year's.
Last week's practice brought out a marked improvement in all departments of the play, especially in passing and following back. The University twice defeated the B. A. A. team, 2 to 1 and 5 to 2, displaying much life and aggressiveness on both occasions. With the second cut last Saturday, the squad of twenty men may now be expected to round rapidly into form. Fundamentals have been largely disposed of, and henceforth the attention will be directed toward the development of systematic team play.
Offence Composed of New Men.
Two men from last year's offence are available this year, Sortwell and Palmer. Sortwell has been shifted from left wing to left centre in order to make room for Hopkins at the former position. Sortwell is the fastest man on the team, and should have no trouble in keeping his position, though Hanson will prove a valuable substitute. At right centre, Phillips, captain of last year's Freshman team, has superseded Palmer. He is very clever in stick-work but has a tendency toward slowness and individual play. Hopkins at left end is outplaying Baldwin, the other candidate for the position, his main strength lying in the accuracy of his shots. The strongest competition in the line is for the right wing position, Morgan, Devereux, Smart, Gorham, and Clark all being among the possibilities. At present, Morgan seems to have the best chance, but his position is far from secure.
Defence Will be Strong.
On the defence Gardner and Willetts will undoubtedly again fill the positions of goal and point respectively, which they held on last year's team. Captain Gardner did not report for practice until the latter part of last week but showed his usual steady form in the only scrimmage in which he took part. Carnochan will unquestionably prove an able substitute for Gardner. Willetts, who was also late in coming out, shows the effects of his late start, though he is playing a better game than any of the other points. His work in breaking up the rushes of the opposing forwards is excellent, but he is not yet as brilliant in carrying the puck down the ice as last year. Handy and Brown are having a close race for second choice at this position. Claflin's work thus far has apparently assured him of his place at coverpoint. He is very fast and has exceptional endurance. Goodale though a considerably slower man is at present the most dependable substitute. Graustein has not, however, had the opportunity to develop his best form.