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Blue-chip freshman Pete Predun racked up a near-record ten points in his Harvard debut Saturday to lead the stickmen past Mass Maritime in the season opener, 19-5.
Predun's outburst fell one point short of the Harvard record established by Grady Watts, Harvard's leading career scorer, in 1960 and tied 12 years later by John Hagerty in the annual rout over perennially overmatched MIT. Those two players were attackmen; Predun's effort was the best ever by a Harvard midfielder.
With 16 freshmen or sophomores in uniform, the team played nervously early in the game, disappointing Crimson coach Bob Scalise. "I figured that Mass Maritime should have been the nervous team, having to play us," he said last night, "but in the beginning, both teams looked scared."
But if the early jitters disturbed Scalise, it was his only worry of the afternoon. Once the team settled down, everything clicked just right.
In the first half, Harvard succeeded on ten of 12 clears while riding Mass Maritime unmercifully and breaking up 13 of the Tritons' attempts to get the ball past midfield. The stickmen outshot their opponents, 30-7, and co-captain Sandy White demonstrated his specialty with the precision of a surgeon, coming up with 12 of 13 face-offs.
For the game, Harvard successfully converted on all but two of its seven manup opportunities, while stymying all but one of Mass Maritime's power-play attempts.
After the first half, Harvard led, 9-2. Predun had already notched a hat-trick, attackmen Bill MacKenzie and Gordie Nelson each had a pair, and playmaker Steve Martin had garnered three assists.
In goal, Kenny First, the back-up last spring as a freshman, got the starting nod over last year's starter, senior Jim Michelson. The sophomore seemed unsure of himself, and while the Tritons managed to get only three shots on net in the initial 30 minutes, two of them found their way past First.
Scalise ushered Michelson off the bench to start the second half. "There was a marked difference when Michelson was in there," Scalise explained yesterday. "He's more experienced and it showed."
The senior held the Tritons scoreless in the third quarter, corralling six saves. He allowed two scores in the final stanza before retiring to the bench in favor of attackman-turned-netminder Dailey Kennedy.
Harvard tallied only two goals in the third period, both by senior MacKenzie, who is fast approaching the 100 career points plateau. In the final 15 minutes, the Crimson attack shifted back into high gear.
Martin notched four more assists to finish with seven for the game, falling one short of the Harvard record in that category, and added his first goal of the season. Predun handed out a pair of assists and then notched the last two tallies of the afternoon.
Scalise was especially pleased with the fact that all but two of the team's 19 goals, both of them one-on-one forays by MacKenzie, were scored with assists, and that the team took full advantage of manup situations.
Both are measures of teamwork and good execution, qualities he is working hard to instill in the young team.
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