For most of the sellout crowd of 14,335 who attended last night's hockey game at the Boston Garden, it was nothing more than a B.U. blowout in the Beanpot finals but for a few the 7-1 final score and all the events leading up to it seemed to summarize Harvard's bizarre and best-forgotten hockey season. There were the missed passes, the fleeting moments of offensive pressure, the ambiguous powerplays, and the injuries (Gene Purdy and his battered shoulder never took the ice).
And when three uncalled - for and malicious fights broke out with 3:36 left to play in the contest, it was a bitter exclamation point for what has to be the most frustrating season in anyone's memory for the Crimson icemen.
In the end it was a hat-trick by B.U.'s Mickey Mullen that did the most damage, but his heroics only typified what was a game totally controlled by the Terriers, and further justification to this talented club's 24-1-0 record and number-one ranking in the nation.
All of this; Mullen's trick, the fights and Harvard's offensive inability, once again camouflaged a spectacular performance in the Harvard goal by sophomore John Hynes. It was Hynes's best performance of the season (32 saves, including two spectacular breakaway stops in the third) and that's saying a lot. But then again, good goaltending and a lot of scoring have not gone hand-in-hand for the Crimson this season.
It was a long night from the first faceoff. Harvard could do nothing right in the first period, reverting mostly to the dump and pray tactics that are never in a team strategy for the Beanpot final.
B.U., on the other hand, was flying, and showered Hynes with 15 shots in the opening stanza, two of which went for goals.
A hooking call on the Crimson's Bobby McDonald gave the Terriers the game's first power play and first goal at 4:17. With only 15 seconds gone in the power play, B.U. defenseman Jack O'Callahan uncorked a slap shot from the left point that ricocheted off of Hynes shoulder into the upper right corner. Pointmate Dick Lamby and Dave Silk got the assists.
Bad clears and stray passing by Harvard kept B.U.'s offense ever-pressuring, and then Mullen's initial tally with 7:12 gave the Terriers a 2-0 advantage.
After a breather-clear by the Crimson, B.U. broke in 3-on-2. Daryl Maceod shoved the puck over to Paul Miller on the right, and after the freshman was stopped by Hynes on his first two shots Mullen was there to loft the third rebound up and over the prone netminder.
The icemen came on in the second to skate close to even with the Terriers, but as fate and a seemingly insurmountable deficit would have it, were both outshot and outscored by B.U. Hynes was there again to make 11 saves, but the Crimson could manage only one tally, that by freshman Rick Benson at 8:35.
After Mullen's second goal of the contest at 3:18 (a tip in off a Bill LeBlond wrist shot that the screened Hynes never saw.), Harvard became momentarily disenchanted and it finally took an ineffective power play two minutes later to get the icemen back on track.
With the puck tied up for a face-off in the B.U. end, centerman Benson scored his second goal of the tournament on a darting wrist shot from the left circle a split second after the puck was dropped (vintage Derek Sanderson, Circa 1970).
Down 3-1, it was a case of renewed vigor for only the next two minutes as Terrier Tony Meagher took the puck off Kevin O'Donoghue's stick and raced in only to be foiled by Hynes.
Meagher's momentum-turning move did not go unrewarded though, as moments later, Mullen got his hat trick, when the hitherto unheralded B.U. forward polished off rebounds from Bill LeBlond and Miller to make it 4-1 after two. Give an assist on that one to the non-clearing efforts of the Harvard defense.
B.U., who had led all the way, fired the final shots from its explosive offense in the final period, connecting for the three final goals to finish up the scoring.