"When that man Craven gets it," he said to the men of the center, "make straight for the goal. Never mind the ball."
The wisdom of this order became at once evident, for when in the face-off he secured the ball, Hughie clung so tenaciously to his heels and checked him so effectually, that he was forced to resign it to the Reds, who piercing the Twentieth center, managed to scurry up the ice with the ball between them. But when, met by Craven and Johnnie Big Duncan, they passed across to Dan, Hughie again checked so fiercely that Johnnie Big Duncan secured the ball, passed back to the master, who with another meteoric flash along the edge of the field broke through the Front's defense, and again shot.
It was only Farquhar Bheg's steady coolness that saved the goal. It was a near enough thing, however, to strike a sudden chill to the heart of the Front goal-keeper, and to make Dan realize that something must be done to check these dangerous rushes of Craven.
"Get in behind the defense there, and stay there," he said to two of his centers, and his tone indicated that his serene confidence in himself and his team was slightly shaken. Hughie's close checking was beginning to chafe him, for his team in their practice had learned to depend unduly upon him.
Noticing Dan's change in the disposition of his men, Hughie moved up two of his centers nearer to the Front defense.
"Get into their way," he said "and give the master a clear field."
But this policy only assisted Dan's plan of defense, for the presence of so many players before the Front goal filled up the ice to such an extent that Craven's rushes were impeded by mere numbers.
For some time Dan watched the result of his tactics well satisfied, remaining himself for the time in the background. During one of the pauses, when the ball was out of play, he called one of the little Reds to him.