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Penn Bags Icemen With Late Goal, 4-3

By David Clarke

Pennsylvania's Skip Suss brought the puck out of the corner in the Harvard end Saturday night and put an eight-footer past Crimson netminder Brian Petrovek with a mere 22 seconds left in the game to topple the visiting Harvard icemen, 4-3.

While a Penn victory looked unlikely before the game even started, the feat appeared down right impossible by early in the second period. At that point, George Hughes, Charlie Peterson, and Gene Purdy had all found the net for the visitors and Harvard led, 3-0.

Out of the Bag

But just when Harvard seemed to have its third straight victory in the bag, the Quakers caught fire. Jamie Hodge treated the crowd to the first home-team goal of the evening while his defensive cohorts were shutting down the Harvard attack. Penn goalie Carl Jackson left the ice with an injury midway through the second frame, and sub Jim Nista skated on to stymie the Crimson the rest of the way.

In the final period, Tom Cullity and Tom Whitehead connected for the Quakers to knot the score. Then in the last minute of play, Suss beat Harvard into the corner for the puck and beat Petro to seal the upset.

"It made sense," Harvard's Bill Hozack said yesterday. "They beat us to the puck all night."

The upset loss cost the Crimson more than what should have been an easy mark in the win column. A victory would have given Harvard coach Billy Cleary 100 career triumphs and would have garnered the Crimson a share of the Ivy league lead along with Brown and Cornell, after the Big Red's Saturday afternoon loss to the Bruins. While Cleary has plenty of chances left to get to the century mark, Saturday may have been the Crimson's last gasp in the Ivy title chase.

But those thoughts are probably secondary to Harvard's quest for a spot in the top four and home ice advantage for the first round of the ECAC post-season blood-letting. Combined with B.U.'s victory over Yale on Saturday and 6-1 shocker over top-ranked Clarkson on Sunday, Harvard's loss to the Quakers probably dropped the Crimson out of the running.

A Good Question

How could Harvard lose to a second-division club like Penn less than a week after beating B.U., a team now firmly cemented in the top four? "I wish I knew," Crimson captain Bill Horton said yesterday. "If you could put your finger on it, something could be done to correct it. We wouldn't lose games like that."

Harvard thinks the answer is the overall balance of teams in Division I of the ECAC this year--the most scrambled hockey season in recent memory. "If you start a game thinking that you're better than the other team, thinking that you don't have to work to win, you're going to lose," he added.

Harvard travels to Ithaca Wednesday to meet the third-ranked Big Red of Cornell in a game where over-confidence won't be a problem.

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