After six long weeks of training, drilling, and scrimmaging, the Crimson hockey squad erupted in their season opener Saturday night against the University of New Hampshire, blowing the Wildcats out of Watson rink, 9-3.
Harvard displayed some excellent two-way hockey, applying pressure with good forechecking and getting off 55 shots, while allowing UNH only 26 shots on goalie Joe Bertagna. Sophomores gave a big boost to the team, especially Randy Roth, who scored twice on the power play.
A good deal of the credit for the win must go to Harvard power play, which in six appearances scored five goals. Coach Cleary changed the power play this year, putting Dave Hynes and Bob Goodenow on the points and playing Bill Corkery, sophomore Randy and Bob McManama on the line.
"I didn't say much about the new power play before the season started," Cleary said. "You know it's a little risky putting five forwards out there, but Hynes and Goodenow have great hockey sense. They really did an excellent job both ways."
Goodenow put the Crimson on the board first, at 6:22 of the opening period. With UNH a man down, he wound up from the point and drove the puck through a screen and past Wildcat goalie Bob Smith. Goodenow also assisted on Roth's power play goal late in the period.
Goals by Harry Reynolds and UNH freshman Gary Hislop, sandwiched in between, made the score 3-1 at the end of the period.
The "Local Line" notched up 15 points for the evening, five from each player. Corkery scored the first of his two goals after only 43 seconds had elapsed in the second stanza.
The Wildcats came back 31 seconds later on a goal by freshman Warren Brown, making the score a somewhat respectable 4-2. But that was the last bright moment for UNH, as Harvard totally dominated the rest of the period, getting goals from Roth, Hynes, McManama and Thorndike. Both Roth and McManama scored on power plays, getting assists from Corkery and Hynes.
Corkery and UNH captain Bill Beaney exchanged goals in the third period to finish up the scoring. Corkery's tally came with Wildcat defenseman John King in the box for tripping Reynolds on a breakaway.
Cleary was more than pleased with the team's performance. "I'm really proud of the kids, we have definitely improved both on defense and in shooting. We have a much more even distribution of strength this year, especially up front," he said.
This season the Crimson have four strong lines, all of which played well Saturday night. "The line of Thorndike. Reynolds and Desmond deserved to score a hundred goals, they worked our forechecking system to a tee. The sophomore line (Dagdigan, Gauthier and McMahon) also looked good out there."