The Boston College Eagles swoop into Watson Rink tonight at 7 p.m. in an effort to break the Crimson hockey squad's three game winning streak.
While Harvard has beaten such respectable opponents as the University of New Hampshire, Boston University and Penn, out-scoring them by a total of 24-8, the Eagles have split their first two, getting trounced by Brown, 9-4, and edging Providence, 6-5, in overtime.
But Harvard coach Bill Cleary is not overly optimistic about B.C.'s poor early season statistics. "They're a much better team than last year. They have a lot of returners with a year of experience under their belts and play good positional hockey. They also have Tom Mellor this year."
Mellor is B.C.'s top point-getter so far with a goal and seven assists. A defenseman, he played with the U.S. Olympic team last year, taking the year off from college. "He gives B.C. an awful lot of strength back there on defense," Cleary said.
Eagle goalie Neil Higgins has lot in an average of seven goals in his first two games. Cleary, however, feels that average is deceptive, since most of the goals came in the season opener. "I saw him play against Providence and he looked a lot better than his record shows," he said yesterday.
The Eagles' offensive power will come from forwards Ed Kenty, who has been the team's top scorer the last three seasons, captain Bob Reardon and right wing Joe Fidler, who leads the Eagles this year in goal-scoring with three.
The Crimson line-up will remain virtually the same for tonight's game. "We're going pretty good right now; we don't want to make any changes," Cleary said. The only change will come with the rotation of Levy Byrd and Dave Hands as fifth defenseman.
Harvard has packed a lot of scoring punch this season with Bill Corkery leading the team in points. Corkery got the hat trick in last Saturday's 9-1 drubbing of Penn to boost his total to 13.
His linemates Dave Hynes and Bob McManama rank two and three in points on the team. The reason, perhaps, is that these three along with Randy Roth and Bob Goodenow, make up a brutal power play combination, which has converted on nine of 14 chances. The local line now has a total of 30 points in three games.
Too Many Penalties
Another reason for the Crimson's high scores, Cleary points out, is the improved play of the defense. "They get the puck out of our zone very effectively and this helps the forwards a lot," he said.
Harvard's biggest problem this season has been the number of penalties it has received. The penalty-killing team of Kevin Hampe, Mark Noonan, Hynes and Corkery, however, has done a great job in preventing the opposition from taking advantage of the six-on-five situation.