Then play was resumed.
Hugh had taken his comrades to task during the intermission. He told them several weaknesses had developed in their team play, which should be corrected if they hoped to down the strong Keyport Seven. Nor did Hugh spare himself in making these criticisms, for he knew his own faults. It is a wise boy who does.
Having tested Nick’s superb playing and found it good, the captain of the Scratch Seven was willing to put him forward as their star player, even if it went against the grain to realize that they had to depend on a fellow so much in disrepute.
There were several hot scrimmages, as always occur during a strenuous game of ice hockey. Even the most careful of players will sometimes err in judgment at such times, and either be reprimanded by the referee or having their side penalized on account of their too energetic work. Strange to say, Nick Lang never once caused a penalty to be inflicted on his side, though Rawlings, Hasty and Lawrence were unwitting offenders, as were also Dugdale and Hobson on the part of Scranton High.
Everybody was satisfied when the game finally came to an end with the score nine to six. It was a pretty good contest, all things considered. Perhaps the Regulars did not try quite as hard as they might, since after all this was to be considered only in the light of practice, and they were more taken up with correcting certain glaring errors than in making goals.
The talk of the whole game, however, was the playing of Nick Lang, who had left the ice after it was all over; but not before Hugh had congratulated him on his fine work.
“How did he ever go through with it all, and never make a nasty break once?”
“This must foe one of Nick’s special good days, I reckon!”
“He’s sure a hummer, all right, when he chooses to play straight. What a pity he has that crooked streak in his make-up. Only for that Nick would be a jim-dandy hand at any old athletic sport. I wonder if it will last, or is he due to break loose, to-night perhaps, just because he’s held himself in so long.”
These and many similar remarks passed between the astonished boys of Scranton High, but they did not seem able to understand it at all. Hugh, however, only smiled when they appealed to him, and would say nothing; but deep down in his heart he was satisfied that the seed he had sown had fallen on fallow soil and taken root.
THAD BRINGS SOME STARTLING NEWS
“Hugh, have you heard the news this Sunday morning?”
With these abrupt words Thad Stevens burst upon his chum who was feeding some long-eared, handsome Belgian hares, which of late he had taken to keeping, as it had become quite a fad among the Scranton boys.
Hugh turned to look at his friend. It was plain to be seen that Thad was laboring under considerable excitement. His face was flushed as if with running, while his eyes glowed much more than was their wont under ordinary conditions.