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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., March 14--The varsity hockey team, a relative newcomer to the NCAA playoff, will meet the New York Yankees of amateur hockey tomorrow night at 8:15 when they face off against the Michigan Wolverines at the Broadmoor Ice Palace.
Michigan has played in this tourney every year since its inception in 1948 and it has taken home the title six times. This year, however, while it is still a strong, fast sextet, the Maize and Blue is not as well balanced a team as those it has sent here in the past.
Its scoring potential is very high, but its defense, particularly in the beginning of the season, was quite weak. It will still be a slight favorite for tomorrow's game, but as the Crimson's strength also lies in its ability to tally, the contest should be close and high scoring.
Creeping professionalism has also put somewhat of a dent in the Wolverines' lineup. Wally Maxwell, one of Michigan's best wings, and Neil Buchanan, a crack defenseman, have both been ruled ineligible for play in this tournament. They were guilty of accepting expense money while trying out for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
No Practice Planned
As yet, Crimson coach Cooney Weiland has not planned any practice sessions for his team, although there is a slight chance they may take the ice tomorrow afternoon. "We've been practicing and playing games all year," he explained, "and I'd just as soon the boys rested up before these games. If we haven't got it now, we haven't got it," he added.
Michigan, with a 17-4-2 record, lost twice to Colorado College over the regular season and only just managed to make the NCAA by edging out Michigan Tech for second place in the Eastern Hockey League. Three forwards, high scorer Tommy Rendall, Neill McDonald, and E'd Sweitzer of the Wolverines are among the best in the nation, while captain Bob Pitts has played well at defense towards the end of the season.
Michigan lost its All-American goalie Lorne Howes at the end of last year (he graduated), but sophomore Ross Childs has filled his shoes very capably and is recognized as one of the best net-minders in the country.
Paul Kelley's injury and Les Duncan's ineligibility have forced Weiland to change his lineup since early in the season. He has expressed satisfaction, however, with Mo Balboni's work on the first line since Kelley was hurt, but he plans to try both Bill DeFord and George Higginbottom at the position.
If Higginbottom gets the nod as wing on the first line (and it is quite possible that he will), he will provide the speed to the line that has been sorely missed since Kelley's injury. Higginbottom, who has played on the third line all year long, ic actually good enough to be of first or second line caliber. But when Weiland found that Bob McVey, Dave Vietze, and Dick Fischer worked so well together, he decided to leave Higginbottom on the third line to make it as powerful as possible.
Public sentiment around the Broadmoor vastly prefers a Crimson victory tonight. As most of the lobby loungers are CC fans, they are "tired of seeing Michigan win," and they would also much rather have the Tigers face the Crimson tomorrow night than the Wolverines
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