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If college hockey games were 20 minutes in duration instead of 60, Yale's hockey team would be untouchable. But until the NCAA changes the rules (and who's to say that they might not, given the sort of things that have been coming out of Walter Byers's office recently), the Eli are going to be in trouble.
Same Old Story
Saturday night at New Haven, Yale gave Harvard everything it could handle for one period, but midway through the second, it was the same old story at Ingalls Rink. Harvard had scored four goals within fifteen minutes and Yale was on its way to its fifth straight defeat, 5-1.
As the Crimson had had reason to expect, the Bulldogs were out for blood. A 9-12 season had already eliminated them from the Ivy race, and from consideration for an ECAC playoff berth next month. A victory over Harvard was all Yale had to look forward to, and when it became apparent midway through the game that it was not forthcoming, the contest rapidly disintegrated into a game of shinny.
Referees Bell and Barry called 25 penalties, including four apiece for elbowing, cross-checking, high stick and roughing, and even that did not preclude a scuffle at the game's end. It was a disappointing episode in what has normally been a well-fought, sportsmanlike rivalry in the past, and could make one apprehensive about the quality of the return match at Boston Arena next Saturday.
For one period, though, it had been an even contest, despite the fact that Yale could put only two shots on the Crimson net. An inspired performance by goaltender Mark Fitzsimmons, some cohesive work on defense, and improved forechecking kept Yale on an even level with the Crimson in the early going, and when Dan Hurtubise beat Harvard goalie Joe Bertagna on a beautiful breakaway at 16:49, the capacity crowd roared in surprise and delight.
The Yale lead was short-lived, however. As time was running out in the first period. Harvard's Bob McManama took a pass from linemate Bill Corkery and, just after crossing the Yale blue line, blasted a desperation slap shot past Fitzsimmons from the left side. There were three seconds remaining, and the Crimson went into the dressing room tied.
Yale managed to remain in contention during the early part of the second period, but three penalties in the first seven minutes disrupted its unity, and Harvard began to run the Eli ragged. McManama scored again on the power play on a pass from Dave Hynes at 9:10, and Bob Havern, with a remarkable display of stickhandling, beat two Yale defenders and Fitzsimmons for Harvard's third goal a minute and twelve seconds later.
Soon after the next faceoff, Hurtubise and D'Arcy Ryan, Yale's leading scorer, collided in the Eli zone while going after Harvard's Mark Noonan. Hurtubise, bleeding profusely, took 20 stitches in his face. Ryan left the game with a groin injury, and although he returned briefly later. Yale was finished. Harvard's Tom Paul scored at 14:48, and linemate Bob Goodenow added a fifth goal midway through the third period.
So now only Brown, and a rematch with Yale, stand between Harvard and a third-place seed in the ECAC playoffs. The Ivy title may be out of reach, unless Brown defeats Cornell at Ithaca next weekend. But what Harvard indicated at Princeton it confirmed at New Haven. The Crimson is still as dangerous now as it was in mid-January.
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