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Harvard-B.U.: No Love Lost

Savoir-Faire on Valentine's Day

By Michael K. Savit

No, I have never seen Harvard defeat Boston University in hockey.

No, I have not received a Valentine's Day card since the sixth grade, when everyone sent one to everyone else.

December '74--The last time the Crimson defeated the Terriers--it was 7-2 at Watson Rink--and I had to be a freshman. You know, I was probably studying that night or something.

February '75--So I wised up and hit North Station, but so did B.U., which wised up and hit Harvard. All over the place. Again it was 7-2, and the tide had turned.

March '75--If it was a joke, it would have been funny. It wasn't a joke, but it was funny. Terriers rout Crimson in ECAC finals. Ditto NCAA consolation.

December '75--It has become routine by now. An early Harvard lead precedes a Terrier explosion--usually three quick goals before the second period is five minutes old--and Crimson partisans are chanting "Screw B.U." out of frustration, not enthusiasm.

February '76--I should be studying for a final but it's Beanpot time and you don't pass up the pate do fols gras of college hockey. Not even for Moby Dick. In a tooth-and-whale struggle, the Terriers take this first-round contest, 6-5.

March '76--Sure, I had great seats--red line, balconey, third row--and sure, I was cocky, having already bought tickets for the ECAC finals the next night, and sure, I never did sell those tickets-nor show up at the finals--B.U. made a mockery of the semis, 8-something.

December '76--The Crimson's best shot. It even went into overtime. But that's all it went. B.U. 4, Harvard 3 at Watson. Make that seven.

February '77--Ask anybody. Ask Rod Stewart. "Tonight's the night. Gonna be all right. Nobody's gonna stop us now."

Ask captain Bill Horton. "Realistically," he said last night, "I think we can win. We're probably better than B.U.talent-wise, and the fact that we lost the first game to them is to our advantage. We'll be better prepared mentally at the Garden."

Yes, the Garden, where the Terriers have lost but thrice in their last 21 starts, and where tonight, as befits the 25th Beanpot final, Harvard and B.U. loyalties will be compared to the tune of Dum, Dum, Dum...

Regardless of the outcome, this will be a social event not to be missed--the clashing of two schools that have little in common save the historical strength of their hockey teams.

And while history favors the Terriers, the present doesn't necessarily. B.U. is good--that early-season win in Cambridge, the Terriers' first, propelled them into the ECAC's top four--but not that good. They took care of Northeastern and RPI last night, but that's nothing special.

Harvard? The loss last Wednesday to Cornell is a psychological plus, and in a game where emotion and state of mind count as much as talent, every little bit helps.

The bottom line, simply, is that it's Harvard's turn to win. Because it's B.U. in the Beanpot finals, and who cares about being a homer and sticking your neck out on a limb. For at least a night, it's worth it. Harvard 5, B.U. 3, with an empty net goal by Bill Hozack clinching things once and for all.

Well, one out of two isn't bad.

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