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Where have you gone, Jack Morrison, in this, Yale's hour of torment?
For God, for Country, and for Yale...in precisely that order
Ever since 1967, when All-American Jack Morrison was breaking records down at Ingalls Rink, and the Yale hockey team was actually being taken seriously by the majority of its opponents, the pre-season objectives have been the same in New Haven. A winning season. A respectable finish in the Ivy League. A berth in the ECAC playoffs in March. And a victory, or even two, over Harvard.
And ever since 1967, the objectives have been summarily reduced to one by late February, and even that--a victory over the Crimson--has only been attained once, in overtime.
Today, a Harvard hockey team whose 9-0 victory over Princeton last Wednesday brushed aside any thoughts that it might have fallen apart in February, invades Ingalls Rink. And unless there is a drastic reveral of form, the Eli will most likely meet with the same results that they have become conditioned to accept. It's been the same kind of year at New Haven again.
At times, Yale has shown flashes of brilliance, beating Boston College, 10-6, and coming from four goals behind to defeat Dartmouth in overtime. Despite losses to Penn, Boston State and Brown, the Bulldogs had won seven of 13 when they broke for exams in January. True, they hadn't won an Ivy game, but a winning season was possible, and maybe a shot at the eighth playoff spot. But losses to Clarkson, 12-6, and Penn, 13-3, soon followed, and now, with only a pair of games with Harvard remaining to be played, the record at New Haven is 9-12.
Yale is in the middle of a four-game losing streak. It lost by two goals at Princeton last Saturday. All that is left is the possibility of a victory over the Crimson and the salvation of another dismal winter.
Early in the year, prospects were bright for the Eli. There was a 17-2 freshman team coming up with three men who had scored 125 points among them, and a defenseman named D'arcy Ryan who had accounted for 51 by himself. Two of last year's top three scorers, Roger Demment and Greg Rivet were back, and Mark Fitzsimmons was returning in goal.
At the very worst, it was a squad that should have broken even. And even now, despite their disappointing record, the Bulldogs are still capable of causing trouble. Harvard should win, but it might not be as easy as one might think.
Coach Dick Gagliardi has kept the old freshman line basically intact. Junior Sam Aluni skates with Demment and Rivet on the second line, while sophomores Hurtubise, Mike Walsh and Dave Mayer make up a third unit. Basically, it is a potent forward alignment, and has produced nearly five goals a game. It is on defense that Yale has been done in.
Ryan, the squad's leading scorer with 35 points, is the only defenseman of merit, and often is used as a wing. Juniors Dean Boylan, Don Craig and Steve Whalen skate the other regular turns, but they are frequently penalized. Among them, they have logged 156 minutes off the ice this winter, and Eli opponents have connected on power plays 27 per cent of the time.
In goal, Yale is fairly solid. Senior Mark Fitzsimmons and sophomore Steve Fernow have been sharing duties there, and have an 87 per cent save percentage. Fitzsimmons, who, because of the Eli defensive woes, has been yielding nearly five goals per game, will start tonight.
As for Harvard, coach Bill Cleary should go with the same combination that has worked well in the past. The Local Line of Dave Hynes, Bob McManama and Bill Corkery performed superbly at Princeton, working the power play for four goals, and the generally unnoticed third line, spearheaded by Bob Havern, has recently become an extremely valuable asset. The defense has tightened up, and Joe Bertagna has continued to play more than capably in the goal.
If form holds up, Harvard should come away with another victory, its fifth in a row over Yale, and strengthen its hold on third place in the ECAC standings. Equally important to the Crimson, however, is the match between Princeton and Cornell at Baker Rink. If the Tigers can pull an upset (unlikely, since captain Art Schmon quit the squad Monday and defenseman Brian MacIntosh is benched for fighting last Wednesday), Harvard is assured of a tie for the Ivy title, provided it wins its last two games.
It may be too much to hope for, but then, nobody thought Boston College would win by two goals over B.U. Wednesday night. Or that a team made up of 10 returning letterman and a 17-2 freshman squad that beat Harvard twice would be staking the salvation of a season on a single game once again.
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