For those fans of blood-and-guts hockey, tonight's Brown game could be a real treat. The erratic Bruins--by no means to be confused with the local variety--come to town hoping to knock off the Crimson hockey machine.
For Brown, the season has been, well, a Brown season. The Bruins have been up and down, displaying the occasionally good, often horrendous style of hockey that has come to be their trademark. They have amassed a 2-7 record.
Harvard knows what to look for. Brown doesn't play fast-moving hockey, because they don't have great speed. But they are gutsy. They play defense, and they like to hit. And hit. And hit.
In last year's contest at Watson Rink. Crimson captain Joe Cavanagh found out how much Brown likes physical hockey. Three Bruins put him out of the contest by knocking him down and doing figure-eights across his head. Harvard went on to win 5-0, but Cavanagh spent the weekend in the infirmary.
Not all Harvard-Brown hockey encounters have turned out as auspiciously for the Crimson. Over the past two seasons. Harvard and Brown have split their four games.
When Brown is inspired, as the Bruins were earlier this year against Cornell, they can play with anyone. The Bruins played the Big Red even for two periods and when Brown took a 4-3 lead in the third period, visions of upsets danced in the heads of the Providence throngs.
The Bruins, however, soon put those hopes to rest by collapsing offensively. After taking the lead, Brown failed to get the puck out of its own end for the rest of the encounter, losing 5-4 in overtime.
Brown lost only one member of last year's squad, which played phenomenal hockey at home, going 9 and 0, but lost on the road, where they were an unimpressive 4 and 10. This year, high scorer Mike Powers hasn't shown much of the proficiency that netted him 28 points in 1971. The Bruins' scoring, what there has been of it, has been spread around.
According to Brown Sports Information, the Bruin defense has this year been "sloppy and erratic." Goalie Lou Raycroft has let in 3.71 goals per game. However, this has been primarily due to a lack of support from his teammates. Raycroft has 205 saves to his credit, or 29.3 per game.
Harvard, having split four holiday games, must re-establish its winning momentum. With the Cornell contest looming threateningly in the near future, the Crimson must avoid overconfidence. Brown's losing record means nothing to the Bruins, who get higher for Harvard than for anyone else. Regardless of the outcome, the game shapes up as a real physical battle.