Wednesday, March 31, 2010
State Beats BC, 3-1
Originally written 04/07/2007
And somehow I made it through …
Michigan State won the 2007 NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Championship in St. Louis on Saturday night by defeating Boston College, 3-1. The Spartans scored three times in the last 10 minutes to erase a 1-0 deficit and claim their third national title ever. BC's 13-game winning streak since mid-February came to an end, but their Frozen Four futility endures – just one championship in seven tries since 1998. My father is still miffed, almost an hour after the game ended.
I honestly thought I'd be consoling my friends from State after this one was done – BC had a ton of offensive ability and won this game on paper. Defense wins championships, though, and games are played on ice, and the defensive-minded Spartans, the last team anyone expected to make the Frozen Four, hung tough despite being down a goal after 40 minutes. They tied it on a power-play goal with less then 10 minutes remaining in regulation, won it with 19 seconds left and then hit an empty BC net with two ticks on the clock to seal it. The Eagles lost for just the second time in four years and 84 games when leading after two periods of play, but despite all their offensive output of the last few weeks, they couldn't get that second goal to put State away, thanks partially to a great save by MSU's 5-foot-6 goaltender. That inability to score again cost BC in the end when it couldn't clear the puck out of its defensive zone in the last minute of play and the Spartans put it home to win. (THIS - IS - SPARTA, a la the film "300".)
I am happy for my friends at State, who are some of the most diehard hockey fans you could ever meet, and happy for the Spartan players and coaches, but truth be told I am even more depressed for my alma mater. The Eagles fell in last year's title game at Wisconsin by a goal, and were just 20 minutes away from a title this year but again couldn't hold on to a one-goal lead, which is too slim a margin on this stage for a team with all their talent. It came down to one play, and tonight MSU made that play. State played the game it wanted to and now they're national champions. (Since they beat both BC and BU in the NCAAs this year, do they also get the Beanpot?) BC didn't, and is now 1-4 in its last five national championship outings.
My brother and father and I are all disappointed, since BC has been a part of our lives for 20 years, and we wonder why we get our hopes up so much every spring; but I really feel bad for BC Head Coach Jerry York, he's a good man and a great coach and this close-but-not-quite pattern has got to be galling for him. This time it was my "secondary" school doing the damage, but every year it seems like BC plays great heading into the nationals and then comes up just short in the end. It's nice to get there, but you want to win it when you do - then again it took BC Hockey's Class of 2001 four kicks at the can to get it done, and they broke all kinds of records in their tenure before finally topping North Dakota in OT in Albany six years ago ...
Dad is still a tad mad downstairs. Can't say I blame him. BC is only losing two seniors from this season, though, and hopefully will be back here next year – and hopefully with different results, against State or anyone else. 12 months is a long time to wait, but the puck drops again in just six. Congrats to the Spartans this season, and Let's Go Eagles next year.