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If mid-February were mid-December, Clark Hodder would be a lot happier. Right now he figures the hockey team has reached the stage of relative perfection which it should have attained at about the time when Santa Clauses and Christmas seals were rampant.
With the objective side of the team's schedule just around the corner, however, such wishful thinking isn't going to gain the team any league victories, and league victories are a thing that Harvard hasn't enjoyed since this year's Seniors were Sophomores.
Apparently one of the factors for this late "blooming" of the Crimson potentialities is due to that intangible something called team morale. Working together, Captain Pren Willetts and Hodder have been trying all season to whip a little esprit de corps into an unusually listless squad, and at last the team the team is snapping out of the Slough of Despond which has handicapped it all year.
Hodder contends that if his players can only banish the thought that they are inferior to the other sixes they meet, they will be getting their share of wins. And the way the team played during the last two games shows that this policy is beginning to have its effect.
George Duane, who came through with two goals against the Tigers, has probably been as responsible for the team's improvement of late as anyone. His aggressive style of play has proven infectious, and when the whole team plays the way Duane does all the time, the result is an exhibition such as the team put on in the third period against the Bengals.
Another difficulty which has been felt all this winter is the glaring lack of good centers. Dave Eaton and Skip Ervin departed via the diploma route last June to leave the first two pivot positions wide open. To make matters worse, Bob Cox, third string center, and Johnny Paine, Freshman pivotman last year, were both kept off the ice by scholastic probation until this week, when both were released.
With no potential Austie Hardings to fill this tremendous gap, the Crimson mentor was forced to experiment, and it was not until the Princeton "social series" that he set upon rangy Burgy Ayres to pivot the first line. Cox seems to fill the bill on the Second trio now, and George Gebelein, a promising Sophomore, will probably continue to center the third line.
Hodder's Sophomore troubles are clearing up somewhat. Until recently Gebelein and Caleb Loring were the only two members of the Class of '43 who were potentially good hockey players and not in trouble with the Dean's office. Since the midyears, however, Counce Morgan, Johnny Paine, and Dick Harding are all off probation and ready for action.
These and a number of other promising Sophomores and Juniors, who because of the abolishment of the Jayvee squad have been forced to limit them- selves to House games on Monday night and informal scrimmages at The Country Club, will see action on an unofficial Jayvee team, which Hodder plans to take to Princeton this weekend and to Yale later on.
At present all these potential squadmen have gone down hill because of a lack of regular, supervised practice. This was vividly evidenced the other day, when the Freshmen walked over the Jayvees in an informal game, winning by an eight-point margin.
Under the present set-up if a Freshman doesn't make the squad his Sophomore year, he is practically doomed to oblivion, for there is no place where he can improve himself. Through this evil the depth which is such a necessary adjunct of any college team is lacking on the Crimson forces
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