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While the Harvard basketball squad struggled through three vacation losses, and the crew team lost a race in Egypt, the Crimson icemen managed to take four out of five Yuletide contests and remain the top team in both the Ivy League and the ECAC.
The fans at Watson Rink December 21 had to wonder if the team Harvard was outscoring, 6-3, really came from Brown University. Last year, former Bruin coach Allan Soares dressed Attila and his horde in Brown hockey uniforms and sent them out on to the ice at Watson to ravage Harvard, and leave a trail of 32 minutes of Bruin penalties, a game misconduct, a bloodied Kevin Burke and a 6-1 Harvard victory.
The season Dick Toomey, former freshman coach elevated to the varsity helm shortly after last season's unsuccessful siege of Watson, has done away with the Big Bad Bruin image. He skated a well-mannered, disciplined squad of honest-to-goodness hockey players, that looked a whole lot better than the 6-3 score they lost to Harvard by.
Surprisingly, there were only five penalties assessed the entire game, and Brown picked up only two of them. The first period passed remarkably quickly and the door to the sin bin never opened.
The nearly uninterrupted action, however, resulted in just a pair of scores, one by each team. Jim Thomas fired the first of his two past Brown goaltender Kevin McCabe at 18:49 and Dave Stevenson snuck one past Crimson goalie Brian Petrovek with a mere 32 seconds remaining in the stanza.
Petrovek held strong in the Crimson nets, as the Brown forechecking kept the pressure in the Harvard end at the outset. Petro saved 25 on the evening, 11 in the opening period alone.
Harvard broke the game open in the first four minutes of the second period as Thomas scored at 1:43 and Kevin Carr tallied twice at 3:45 and 4:02. The Bruins came within two at 8:08 of the third period on Stevenson's second goal, but Crimson newcomers Jon Schuster and Bill Hozack rolled the Harvard score up to six. Rick Heimbach made it three for Brown with only 30 seconds left in the game.
But for the more bloodthirsty of the fans, who were disappointed by Toomey's classy squad and the clean, well-played Harvard-Brown game, the Crimson and the scrappy Irish of Notre Dame obliged with a bit of blood-letting two nights later at Watson Rink.
The two squads racked up a total of 21 two-minute penalties as Harvard romped over a tired Notre Dame squad 8-2. The Irish, who had taken on and beaten Boston College the night before, picked up 12 of the minor infractions but just two goals, both by Alex Pirus, on 35 shots on net.
Crimson coach Billy Cleary rested Petrovek and started John Aiken in net. Aiken made 33 saves and allowed both Irish goals. Jim Murray, a starting goaltender on last season's Harvard varsity, was put in to mop up in the third period and was tested just twice. It was the first appearance of the season for Murray.
The Harvard scoring parade was led by Leigh Hogan and Jim McMahon, who fired two goals each past freshman goalie Len Moher. Hogan scored first, 1:52 after the opening face-off, followed by Steve Dagdigian who gave Harvard a 2-0 first period lead. Hogan tallied the lone Harvard goal in the middle stanza after Pirus brought the Irish within one, and Harvard took a 3-1 lead into the final period of action.
Captain Randy Roth and Thomas and Larry Piatelli tallied at 3:16, 6:43 and 7:18 respectively of the third before Pirus got Notre Dame's second tally. McMahon capped it off with two within 20 seconds of each other, at 12:05 and 12:25, to complete the penalty-marred rout.
Despite all the work for the penalty timekeeper, only three of the 11 goals came on power play opportunities: Pirus's at 3:09 of the first period, Hogan's at 11:57 of the second, and Roth's tally in the third.
Great Lakes Tournaments
Harvard's icemen, unbeaten in seven games, entered the December 27-28 Great Lakes Invitational Tournament in Detroit with hopes of avenging last year's NCAA semifinal overtime loss to Michigan Tech by defeating the Huskies in the Tournament finals.
Instead, the Crimson six were upset, 3-2, in the semifinal round by the University of Michigan, who overcame a 2-0 Harvard lead with three goals in the final period.
All-American Michigan netminder Robbie Moore played superbly, repeatedly saving his team as the Wolverines were outshot, 41-22. The junior from Chatham, Ontario, who underwent knee surgery at the beginning of the season, finished the tournament with 76 stops over two games.
Michigan Tech defeated Yale, 7-3, in the other semifinal contest, and then edged Michigan, 3-2, to win the tournament. The Wolverines, after rallying to nip Harvard the previous night, fell prey to a Tech comeback, blowing a 2-0 lead in the final five minutes of play.
Harvard crushed Yale, 8-3, in the consolation game on goals by Ted Thorndike (two), Todd Nieland, Dan Boldue, Phelps Swift, Paul Haley, captain Randy Roth and Jim McMahon.
The Crimson loss to the Wolverines was particularly surprising because three of Michigan's regular skaters, including first-line winger Frank Werner and top scorer Angie Moretto, were under a one-game suspension for fighting.
Boldue drew first blood in the Michigan tilt, slipping home a perfect goal-mouth pass from linemate Dave Bell at 18:22 of the opening period. Boldue, assisted by Bell and Kevin Burke, scored again seven minutes into the second stanza, extending Harvard's lead to 2-0.
The Crimson held off the Wolverines until midway through the final period, when Ben Kawa scored on a low screen shot at 8:35. Don Dufek, a 6 ft., 1 in., 195-lb. football star, knocked a rebound past Crimson goalie Brian Petrovek at 13:49 to knot the score.
Kris Manery, a brother of Randy of the Atlanta Flames, sent a shot over Petrovek's left shoulder three minutes later to notch the winning goal.
Harvard left Detroit with an 8-1-0 record, still 4-0 in the Ivy League and 7-0 in ECAC play. On January 3 the team demolished St. Louis, 13-3, in the first of a two-game weekend series on the Billikens' home ice. The second contest, played last night, concluded Harvard's six-game holiday schedule.
Roth and McMahon each scored the hat trick to lead the Crimson to its 13-3 rout. Harvard jumped ahead, 10-0, before Rick Kennedy collected the Billikens' first tally during the second period. The 13 Crimson goals were the most ever allowed in one game by a St. Louis University team.
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