The Harvard hockey team won its third straight game Saturday night at Watson Rink, 6-3 over Penn, in the easy but sloppy fashion that characterized its two previous wins.
There was not much time for good hockey in the contest, as 35 minutes in penalties (low for the NHL, super-high for the ECAC) made man-up hockey a common sight for most of the night. Here was the only department in which the Quakers edged Harvard all night, spending 18 minutes of the 35 in the (ugh) sin bin.
Funny thing is, Penn could have won the game. The Quakers jumped out to a 2-0 lead or goals by Tom Whitehead and Tom Cullity after only 9:04 had elapsed, and were still in front 29 seconds later when George Hughes notched his fifth goal of the season to open the scoring for Harvard.
Then Penn proceeded to blow any chance of winning with its ensuing affection for the penalty box. It was then time for the Harvard Power Play Show, as the Crimson scored four unanswered goals, three of which came with a man or more advantage.
At 17:59 of the first period Kevin O'Donoghue's slapshot sprinted to the right hand corner by Penn goalie Bob Sutton to tie the game.
The goal came with two seconds left on a hooking call to Penn's Tom O'Dette. Harvard's normal power play (Jack Hughes, John Cochrane, George Hughes, Barney Cook, and Gene Purdy) looked pretty passing, but just couldn't get that "one good shot" off.
Coach Billy Cleary sent out fresh troops with five seconds left on the power play, and after Rick Benson dropped it back to Jimmy Trainor who crossed it over to O'Donoghue, the Crimson had their "one good shot" and a 2-2 score.
The second period opened with Penn continuing its Bowery Boys style of play. After four minutes Harvard was two men up, and after 5:20 a Jackie Hughes fastball from the blue line made it 3-2, Harvard. Purdy and Cochrane assited on the power play tally.
Purdy then made it 4-2 at 13:29 with his first of two goals (Geno also had two assists) of the night. After a 3-on-2 Crimson break failed, George Hughes dropped the puck back to O'Donoghue on the left point, where his drive was redirected by a Purdy deflection into the upper right hand corner.
Two minutes later Harvard goalie John Hynes decided to show off to the fans that yes, he is improving. Penn's Mickey Ball had Hynes point blank from left of the slot and fired a wrist shot which Hynes deflected up with his shoulder and then caught before Penn sticks could bat it in. Hynes made 24 saves on the evening and gave up his lowest goal total of the young season.
The third period hadn't even started when the Quakers received a two-minute bench minor. Almost mechanically, the Harvard power play came through yet again at 1:03, as Purdy pushed the puck by Sutton after previous tries by Barney and George in front of the cage had failed.
Sporting a three-goal lead, the icemen joined in the sloppy play for the next 16 minutes, failing on two more power play chances and giving up Penn's third score of the night, Cullity's second, at 15:44.
But as justice would have, the patient fans at Watson were finally rewarded by Harvard's last tally, a picture score with 2:03 left to play. Amazingly, both teams were at full strength.
Freshman Phil Evans got the goal, but credit the year's best assist to linemate Randy Millen. On a centering pass from Bob McDonald, Millen, with one man to beat, waited for the Penn defenseman to commit himself before sliding the puck over to the streaking Evans.
The Crimson drubbed Penn in shots on goal, an obnoxious 51-27, but yet everyone seems to know that this team is capable of hockey ten times as good. Though the potential of the icemen is in doubt, one thing is for sure; B.U. is gonna be ten times better than Penn come Wednesday night.
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