Dartmouth's Tom Fleming spent the fall getting in shape by catching passes, returning kickoffs and running back punts. In fact, Fleming led the Ivy League champion football squad in all three departments, hauling in 12 passes for 233 yards and two touchdowns, averaging nearly 24 yards per kick return and receiving 14 punts and racing 258 yards with them.
Fleming will not however, don a football helmet tonight when he and his teammates invade Harvard's Watson Rink at 7:30. Instead, he'll be wearing a pair of artificial metal extensions on his feet used for chasing a small rubber disc on a surface of frozen water, playing a game called ice hockey.
This season the Big Green are counting heavily on Fleming and the six other starting sophomores who will be seeing a lot of action tonight against Harvard. This talented group came up from a 17-1 freshman team that averaged nearly ten goals a game, one of the best in Dartmouth's history.
Coach Grant Standbrook will be going with an all-sophomore line of Fleming (36 goals as a freshman) centering left winger Danny Tonlak (the leading frosh scorer with 64 points) and Greg Cronin, at right wing.
It will be like old home week for Fleming and Cronin, who skated together on a line during high school days at Philips Andover. They will be facing former teammates Danny Bolduc, who scored a goal for the Crimson Sunday in a 7-3 trouncing of Penn, and Kevin Burke. The two Crimson forwards played on another Andover line.
Fleming's line has scored twice this season with Cronin getting the winning goal in a come-from-behind 4-3 upset of Boston University. Dartmouth has also played the University of New Hampshire and evened its record with a 3-8 loss.
But Fleming's line is not the only one Standbrook has to offer. Sophomore Ken Pettit will be centering classmate Sandro Orlando and alternate captain Bod Hayes, who notched 27 points last season. Pettit's line has tallied three times in the first two games.
Dartmouth's defensive line of center Peter Quinn, Howie Hampton and Charlie Solberg will probably get the nod to take the opening face-off against the Crimson's top line of Bob Goodenow, Randy Roth and Jim Thomas, who returned from injuries Sunday to score a goal.
Defensively, Dartmouth has captain Paul Dixon skating with veteran Dave Dunbar, and yet two more sophomores Gordie Miller and Chris Hodgson, making up a second defensive unit Fifth defenseman Terry Donaleshen is also expecting to see a lot of action, especially killing penalties.2
In the nets Standbrook, like Cleary, has been going with two goalies, senior Chuck Walker and sophomore Dan Ringsred. Walker, who played well in the Big Green's opener against B.U., will most likely be guarding the net tonight.
At the opposite end of the ice, the fans will get a chance to see one of two sophomore netminders who have looked impressive in Harvard's first two games: Jim Murray and John Aiken. Murray was the victim of a couple of bad breaks in the 3-2 loss to UNH and did not get the offense Aiken had in Harvard's win at Penn.
The rest of the Crimson squad appears healthy and ready to grab the early lead in the Ivy League. Harvard 1-0 in the league, shares the lead now with Princeton, also 1-0 after beating Brown, 4-2, Saturday.