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Before the Very Important Hockey Game at the Arena last night, local sportswriters commented that the winning team should be regarded as the best from the New England area.
After the game, which the Crimson won going away, 5 to 3, the writers further acknowledged Coach Cooney Weiland's sextet, at its strongest, as not only the best in New England but also one of the best to come out of Cambridge.
For the first time in Weiland's career at Harvard, the hockey squad fielded three excellent forward lines which worked together with good passing precision. In back of them were two defense pairs which, despite shaky moments, poke-checked and cleared extremely well.
Bailey Saves Seven
And in the goal, Captain Jim Bailey regained his excellent form, especially in the last period, when his seven saves were ones that kept the varsity in the game.
Except for the first two minutes of the game, when B.C. leaped away to a big 1-0 lead and then again for the last eight minutes of the second period, the varsity never let the puck out of its possession.
But the Eagle defense, goalie Al Pitts, and sometimes the posts of the cage defended well, and B.C. managed to post pone the inevitable until the last period, holding the Crimson 1-1 in the first and then at 2-2 after the second stanza.
However, the crowd of 2000, predominately Crimson fans for the first time in Boston history, wondered after the second period whether the varsity had tired out. Halfway through the last stanza, Bob McVey answered that question with his second goal of the game, taking a pass from John Copeland.
Then defenseman Dan Ullyot picked up a pass sequence from Bob Cleary and Lyle Guttu at 17:49 and scored as goalie Pitts ducked down in the nets. When the red light blinked, three B.C. players dropped their sticks on the ice and skated away in defeated disgust.
But of all the factors which counted in
this decisive victory, none was as encouraging to the Crimson as the brilliant return of George Higgenbottom, who had been out for two months with a cracked ankle.
Higgenbottom centered a third line between Maurice Balboni and Dick Reilly and that line has never been so good. It did not score at all, but it set up more scoring opportunities than any other line in the game.
And once Higgenbottom combined with Bob Cleary, who netted the third goal after faking out pitts at 5:52 of the last period.
Dick Fischer, having one of his fastest nights on the ice, slapped in the first goal on an excellent pass from center McVey at 10:54 of the first period. Then McVey put the Crimson ahead for awhile in the middle stanza with an assist from Bob Owen at 3:34.
Cleary's Stickhandling Good
Other highlights of the game included Bob Cleary's clever stickhandling and the second line's professional pass series.
The win was the fifth straight for the varsity and brought its season's record to 14-3. However, it does not definitely hand the team an N.C.A.A. invitation to Colorado Springs.
Before the game last night, B.C. coach Snooks Kelley commented that Dartmouth, the Crimson's next opponent, should offer at least as much opposition as the Eagles. The Indians are currently tied with the varsity for the Ivy League lead
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