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Tonight's Boston College-Harvard hockey game in the Arena will be the closest match of the season. The opening face-off is scheduled for 8:30 p.m.
Both teams have similar season's records (B.C. 12-4, Harvard 13-3) and both are in close contention for N.C.A.A. selection, according to the Eastern Committee chairman, Coach Snooks Kelley of Boston College.
Kelley said last night that while it is still too early to tell anything definite about the selections, they will probably come from a group of six teams: St. Lawrence, Clarkson, R.P.I., Harvard, Boston College, and Boston University.
Can't Afford to Lose
He admitted, however, that neither the Eagles nor the Crimson can really afford to lose a game, since Clarkson and St. Lawrence have only suffered three losses between them so far.
The Crimson defeated B.C., 5-2, to win the finals of the holiday tourney in their last meeting, but too much has happened in local hockey affairs since that contest for it to have any real meaning now.
While the Crimson has dropped two important games to B.U., the Eagles have improved rapidly and, after losing three of their first five matches, they have rebounded to win nine of their last ten, including two victories over the Terriers.
Both at Full Strength
In manpower, the teams should be almost equal tonight. Both will use three good lines and two excellent defense pairs. And both goalies, Captain Jim Bailey and Al Pitts of B.C., can turn in spectacular performances, as Pitts did last Monday against B.U.
A lot depends, therefore, on which team is more "up" for the match. There is no doubt that Coach Cooney Weiland's sextet should be more than ready. The team took a breather against A.I.C. last weekend and may enter the game with no injuries at all, if sidelined center George Higgenbottom returns tonight.
Higgenbottom cracked his ankle in the holiday tournament but came to practice at the Icehouse for the first time on Monday. If he plays, Weiland will have four strong lines ready.
Whether B.C. will be up for this game after its important win over B.U., 12-1, on Monday is another question. Crimson captain Jim Bailey is sure the Eagles will be prepared.
Bailey Says Eagles Ready
"They have to be up for our game since we beat them at Christmas," Bailey said yesterday. "But by the comparative scores of the B.U. games, B.C. should be favored against Harvard."
The Crimson will start Bob Cleary, Eastern high-scorer, at center, with Lyle Guttu and Paul Kelley on his wings; tentative second and third lines are of Bob McVey, Dave Veitze, and Dick Fischer, and Maurice Balboni, George Higgenbottom, and Dick Reilly.
Dan Ullyot and Dick McLaughlin, and John Copeland and Bob Owen are the defense pairs.
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