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Harvard's hockey team will lose several more games this winter, but it is doubtful that any future defeat will be more frustrating, or in one respect, more costly than the one it suffered Saturday evening to Brown at Watson Rink, 4-3.
It was noticeable just from the tightlipped expressions upon the faces of the Crimson skaters as they came off the Ice, and in the way in which they slapped their sticks against the dasher as they entered the bench after a turn, that something was happening over which they had no control.
It was not until the final eight minutes of the game, when Brown had built an almost insurmountable, 4-1 lead, that the Crimson gained that control, and by then, it was much too late.
Harvard skated well, as well as it has all season. Its passing at least in its own end and within the neutral zone, was certainly adequate.
But when the action was concentrated in the Brown end of the rink, as it was most of the night, a combination of superb goaltending by Bruin Don McGinnis, and an incredible series of missed deflections and shots that sailed inches wide of the open net, kept Harvard down.
A masochistic early season schedule threw the Bruins against Boston University. Cornell. Boston College and Harvard in quick succession, and it seemed likely that they would be emotionally spent by the time it came to play at Harvard. Such was not the case.
Twice in the first two periods Brown caught Harvard napping, and twice, it exploited the mistake for goals. Connie Schmidt put the first by Crimson goaltender Bruce Durno at 15:06 of the first period and Warren Radomsky tallied another at 2:20 of the second. And as any Eastern collegiate team can attest, almost any Brown team can sit on a two-goal lead if it uses its defensive-oriented style to advantage.
By the third period, it was clear that Harvard was going to need a break to win, but it was clearer that in light of its emotional frustration, one goal would lead to two and a tie game. At 7:20 with Bruin forward Dave Patterson in the penalty box for tripping. Harvard's Steve Owen got the goal, and Watson Rink, filled to bursting, was in tumult.
Apparently, the emotional tide had turned, but Brown's John Bennett put a third goal past Durno fifteen seconds later, and Curt Bennett increased the lead to 4-1 with another at 13:45. Harvard, seemingly was beaten.
Then, with three minutes remaining in the game, defenseman Terry Driscoll put a shot past McGinnis from the point, and Jack Turco added the third 39 seconds later to close it to 4-3.
With less than a minute to go, Harvard pulled Durno, added a sixth skater, and came, typically, within inches of sending the game into overtime. But victory was not meant for Harvard Saturday night, and as a result, the Ivy title may not be either, Harvard must beat Cornell twice to capture it, and it must dump Brown at Providence as well. And right now, few Harvard skaters want to look beyond the game with B.C. on Wednesday.
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