With a convincing 5-2 exhibition victory over St. Nicholas under its belt. Harvard's taleted hockey squad goes after somewhat less significant prey tonight when it plays sloppy Northeastern at the Arena at 8:30 p.m.
Usually the St. Nick's game is little more than an invigorating tuneup for Harvard, but last weekend the New York squad performed with surprising cohesion, and probably provided the Crimson with a more difficult task than it will face tonight.
Northeastern also won its first match-a 5-3 triumph over Vermont, a fairly good Division 2 team-but the game was a travesty. The Huskies played shorthanded for the majority of the game, and Northeastern goaltender Dan Eberly kicked in two Cataniount goals himself.
Winning the game was quite possibly the worst thing that the Huskies could have done, because Harvard will without doubt present them with a challenge that they are not possibly equipped to handle.
Northeastern's first line of senior Dave Poile and juniors Crawford Bell and Rich Costa is experienced and fairly talented, but even at that it could be outplayed by any of the Crimson's four lines. Harvard has both balance and power up front, but when Poile's line takes a rest, so does the Husky scoring threat.
And if Northeastern is shallow in forwards, it has even less at defense. Both Tom Daniells and John Boyce are veterans, but their size makes them painfully slow.
Vermont's forwards were consistently beating them with long passes, especially on the outside, and last Saturday against a far botter defense. Harvard was doing the same thing with remarkable fre-
But Northeastern's perenuial salvation has been superb goaltending, and it must rely on it tonight if it is to keep the score respectable. Last year with senior KenLeu, a previous All-East selection, in the net. Harvard ripped the Huskies twice by ?-4 counts, once in the Beanpot.
Northeastern has another semi-Leu this Winter in Eberly, a sophomore who played superbly on at 0-14-1 freshman squad last year. He is as tough a goaltender as Harvard will face all season if he plays up to his capability, but last Saturday he was beaten inexcusably three times. Clearly, he has a capability for letting junk into the net, and Harvard's forwards should provide enough shots to test that capability.
So tonight's contest pretty much boils down to a mismatch between a squad that will most likely be fighting for the ECAC title and one that will have to struggle to keep above water. The only way that Nortbeastern can win is if Harvard allows it to. It has happened before, but don't bet on its happening tonight.