An unhappy, disgruntled, injury-riddled, disappointed and hungry Brown University hockey squad invades Watson Rink tonight for what will probably be its final showdown of the year with the Crimson of Harvard.
The Bruins, expected to field one of their strongest teams ever this year, have struggled through numerous shoulder separations, cracked ribs, broken hands, and sprained knees, and limp into the Harvard game with a 3-7 ECAC log and a 5-9 record overall.
What exactly can be wrong with a team which, in successive games earlier in the year, dumped Cornell, 6-4, and whipped the powerful Wildcats of New Hampshire, 6-3?
For one thing, the Bruins have not been scoring goals lately. In their last three outings, losses to B.C., B.U., and Princeton, the Bruins have bombarded the nets for a total of four goals. The leading scorers for the Brown squad, Steve Menich and Norm Howarth, have each collected 13 points--total goals and assists--so far this year.
Despite the lack of support, Bruin goalie Jim Madich has performed commendably, turning away 345 shots while allowing 50 goals in 13 appearances this season. The junior netminder will probably have a busy night trying to thwart a Crimson attack, led by Randy Roth and captain Bob Goodenow.
Brown's offensive doldrums can be attributed to repeated injuries suffered by members of their "super sophomore" line of Steve Menich, Bob Mars, and Jeri Stromberg, a trio which was the highest scoring freshman line in Bruin history last year. Most recently, Stromberg cracked a bone in his hand and has been sidelined for over a month.
All-American defenseman Keith Smith is also on the list of Bruin casualties, but may return to action in time for tonight's Ivy League action. In the Ivies, Harvard stands at 4-2 while Brown has dropped to last at 1-5.
A glimmer of hope exists for the Brown squad, as most of its wounded will be on hand, if not playing, in the game tonight. Exactly how smoothly the unit will perform together, however, is another story.