Deep into the third period of last night's Beanpot final loss to Boston University, 7-1, three members of the Harvard hockey team explicitly disclosed their fury and frustrations. Brothers George and Jack Hughes, and Murray Bea fought four members of the Terrier squad.
Dea had been smacked in the face by the stick of B.U. defenseman Dick Lamby. Moments later the puck was tied up in the Harvard zone. A short discussion took place, the referee included, concerning Lamby's high-stick. Then, mayhem, George and Lamby exchanged blows. George took advantage of the first fight in recent Harvard hockey history, connecting to Lamby's head.
At the same instant, Jack Hughes pummeled Terrier co-captain and tournament Most Valuable Player Jack O'Callahan. B.U.'s Dave Silk intervened and Jack met that challenge. Then B.U.'s Daryl McLeod came from his bench to tangle with the younger Hughes.
Meanwhile, winger Murray Dea threw the punch of the evening into the face of one of the three aforementioned Terriers.
All three Harvard players and McLeod and Silk were assesed five-minute major penalties. B.U.'s Lamby received only a two-minute minor for roughing and O'Callahan got off scot free.
But the damage had been done to Harvard earlier. In the 13 days prior to last night's Beanpot final the Crimson had played six games. Harvard lost five consecutive games in eight days to Princeton, Penn, Cornell twice, and Yale. Tuesday night, the Crimson bumped off Dartmouth, 4-3, in Hanover, N.H., avenging its season-opening loss at the hands of the Woodsmen, 5-4 in overtime.
Harvard played fairly well, but it was very evidently tired. The Crimson did not play with the intensity and finesse needed to win the Beanpot against a Boston University team which now has a 24-1-0 record over all, 20-1-0 in the ECAC. The Terriers should win the ECAC title for the fifth season in a row, and along with Cornell are the East's toughest threat in the NCAA tournament since B.U. won the national championship in 1972.
This game belonged to Boston University from the start, despite the outstanding play of Harvard goalie John Hynes, who made 32 saves. The Terriers had six shots on the Harvard goal as they totally dominated the opening minutes of the game, before B.U. connected with its awesome power play. It was 4-0 before Harvard's Rick Benson scored, saving the Crimson from being shut out for the second time this season.
Before the fight Harvard's best, the Hughes brothers, were shut off by the Terriers. George was stuffed on a two-on-one break with Bob Kelley. George didn't draw the defenseman to make the pass to Kelley, and he only dribbled a shot on B.U. goalie Jim Craig. Jack had his chance with a one-on-one against B.U. defenseman Bill LeBlond. Jack made no move and chucked a wrist shot onto the glass behind the B.U. goal.
As far as Harvard is concerned, last night's defeat marked the climactic, explosive end to the second season in a row that the Crimson did not make the ECAC playoffs.
The Crimson hosts Yale Saturday, hoping to make Eli pay for last Saturday.