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The hockey team hosts Penn tonight at 7:30 in an effort to do something this year that it never did last season--win three straight games. Harvard is now riding a two-gem winning streak, having disposed rather easily of Vermont, 6-3, and Providence, 6-4.
The Quakers stagger into Watson Rink with an 0-2 record in the ECAC and are 2-3 overall. ECAC losses for Penn were at Yale 4-3 on November 18 and against Boston College 7-6 two days later.
Other than that the Quakers have topped Merrimack 4-2 and split a pair of games last weekend with Ohio State, 4-2, 2-7.
Speaking of splits, it was a split of the two-game Penn series last year that most likely cost Harvard the elusive ECAC playoff berth. After dispatching Penn easily 6-2 at Watson early last season, the Crimson let a 3-0 lead go out with the Zamboni in a 4-3 loss at Philadelphia in late February.
Penn also brings into tonight's clash the third consecutive freshman goaltender that the Crimson have faced at home this season. First-year man Bob Sutton from Oakville, Ontario brings his 4.40 goals-against average into Cambridge tonight, and he will be opposed at the other end by sophomore John Hynes, who boasts a very respectable 3.95 G.A.A. after three contests.
The Quakers, who are a perpetually rebuilding organization, have always had trouble scoring goals. If they manage any tonight, most likely the recipients will be either Gary Prior, Doug Berk, Dave Taylor, or Tom Whitehead, all of whom are currently tied for club scoring honors with six points apiece.
The best thing about Harvard's last two victories against highly touted opposition is that while the squad won rather handily, it seemed capable of still better hockey.
Particularly impressive in the Providence game Thursday was the play of the freshmen--all of them. Tommy Murray, Phil Evans, and Bobby McDonald each copped their first goals on the varsity, while Rick Benson, with two already this season, played another strong game. The play of the fourth line of Evans, McDonald, and junior Randy Millen also showed that the Crimson could sport a very balanced scoring attack this winter.
Defense at this point seems to be Harvard's main problem. Hynes is still far from being comfortable in the Crimson nets, while the tendency among the defensemen many times has been to get sloppy when the puck is in the Harvard zone. These are mistakes which will hopefully resolve themselves with time.
Meanwhile the rest of ECAC goes into some super competitive action today. The schedule looks like this:
New Hamphire at Boston University
Cornell at Brown
Boston College at Clarkson
Northeastern at Princeton
Vermont at R.P.I.
Colgate at Yale
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