ST. LOUIS--Harvard's varsity skaters quietly began niecing together their thoughts on Thursday's 6-4 loss to Minnesota and on the entire 1974-75 season, now virtually over, as they relaxed yesterday by visiting such famed St. Louis sites as the Anheuser-Busch brewery and the St. Louis Zoo.
The Golden Gophers' comeback victory over the Crimson in the NCAA semifinals marked the final disappointment of the year, Minnesota rallied from a 4-1 deficit with five unanswered goals to crush Harvard's hopes for its first NCAA championship.
Harvard faces Boston University tonight at 7 p.m. in the NCAA consolation match, a game which Leigh Hogan termed "meaningless," voicing the general opinion of the squad.
Coach Bill Cleary did not make his skaters practice yesterday, while B.U.'s Jack Parker, extremely upset over his team's 9-5 loss to Michigan Tech. scheduled a mandatory session for Friday morning.
The Crimson icemen offered various reasons for the Minnesota defeat. Some, like Captain Randy Roth, explained the loss in terms of the Western vs. Eastern style of play, while others, such as Hogan, viewed it from a larger, seasonal perspective.
"I think Minnesota took us for granted a little bit." Roth said yesterday. "The WCHA [Western College Hockey Association] isn't head-and-shoulders above us, as Gopher coach Herb Brooks said: Our problem was we were satisfied to make the ECACs and the Nationals, but we weren't hungry enough to win the championship."
"In the first two periods, we were forechecking effectively, and the Minnesota defensemen didn't know what to do," Roth said. "Then we let up, and they were able to set up their plays. When their forwards picked up a few goals, they got sparked and really moved."
Roth added that Minnesota typified many WCHA teams. "If you slow down to their style, the defensemen will work the puck out from behind the net, swinging the center to get the puck up ice. The same thing happened in the B.U. Tech game."
"Seasons go different ways," Hogan said. "Sometimes you peak at the right time, and sometimes you don't, and this year we obviously didn't. Minnesota wasn't Vermont or B.U.--The Gophers were the best we faced; we had to play our best and we didn't."