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Two somewhat unexpected things happened in Eastern collegiate hockey last Tuesday night-Harvard destroyed New Hampshire at Durham, where it is difficult to defeat, much less rout the Wildcats, and favored Brown fell to Boston College, 8-3.
Tonight at 8 p.m., before a sellout crowd at Watson Rink. Harvard and Brown meet, and from the tradition of their recent rivalry, it would be wise to disregard Tuesday's results.
Brown has enjoyed remarkable success in hexing the Crimson for the past several seasons using a rough defense-oriented style that seems to throw Harvard off its precision, position-play strategy quite often. Last winter, the Bruins held a 6-4 advantage over the Crimson at Meehan Rink before succumbing in overtime, and when the two squads met in Cambridge later in the season, it was nearly the same thing although Harvard won a little more comfortably.
Things have changed since last year, however. Both teams will have more dependable balance and in Brown's case a little more talent. The Brown style has always been to sit back, rely on fine goal tenders to keep it out of trouble and wait for the opposition to be caught up-ice.
But graduation, and the shifting of All-East performer Curt Bennett to a forward line has weakened the Bruin defense somewhat, and Brown may have to depend upon goalie Don McGinnis a little more heavily than it did last year.
A flock of excellent sophomore forwards, and Bennett's move to center has provided the Bruins with a dangerous scoring punch however, that has defeated Boston University and forced powerhouse Cornell into overtime already this month. Clearly, the strategy has changed, and Harvard will have to skate with the Bruin squad that it skated at last year.
Brown's first line of Bennett and sophomores Dick Ferriter and Dave McKay could be potentially one of the best in the Ivy League, and its second unit of Rich McLaughlin. Mike Edwards and John Bennett is almost as dangerous. But it seems unlikely that either line can match either of Harvard's top two, at least if the Crimson is skating at full effectiveness. So the key to a Brown victory may just rest with the quality of its defense And the defense until Tuesday night, has held up unstably.
Veteran Bill Gilbane and sophomore Bill Coakley form the first unit, with seniors Gary Peacock and Bob Clifford as a second. Both pairs have allowed a staggering number of shots on McGinnis, who has been remarkably effective so far.
But no goaltender can be expected to withstand the 53-shot barrage that B.C. leveled at him Tuesday, or 57 shots, which Cornell unloaded for any long period of time. M??Ginnis will have to be prepared to keep Harvard's forwards from scoring and an extremely vocal group of Crimson partisans, who distracted Dartmonth goalie Dale Dunning unmercifully last week, may not allow him to concentrate.
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