Friday, April 22, 2011

Looking back at 1990-91

Twenty years ago last month, in a climactic ending to a remarkable season of high-scoring wins, BU came that close—hold your thumb and index finger almost together—to winning its fourth NCAA championship. In the Terriers’ longest ever final four game, they rallied from a three-deficit with less than eight minutes left in the third period, only to fall, 8-7 to Northern Michigan in triple overtime. Like this season’s championship game, it was played in St. Paul.

With the loss, not only did the national title elude BU—the preseason top-ranked team; the team also barely missed recording the school's second trifecta—a Beanpot title, conference title and NCAA championship, a feat later accomplished by the 1994-95 and 2008-09 squads.

The 90-91 squad set a then-program record for goals in a season with 234—and also gave up the ninth most tallies in BU history, 142—with a
roster than included 11 future NHLers, including Shawn McEachern, Tony Amonte, Keith Tkachuk, Ed Ronan, Dave Tomlinson, Dave Sacco and Scott Lachance.

Blog contributor mh82 has a produced another masterful chronology, detailing the 1991-92 season from the opener at RPI to the nearly 82-minute finale in St. Paul that ended a fraction of an inch from victory.

The 1990-91 Terriers: One Glove and Two Caroms Shy of a Load

By mh82

And so it goes, and so it goes
And so it goes, and so it goes
But where it’s goin’ no one knows
Nick Lowe

Ed Carpenter, the Boston University Sports Information Director, reached across his desk to answer the ringing telephone, but when he picked up the receiver, the voice on the line didn’t sound familiar.

Perhaps that’s because the caller was a high school teacher hailing from the town of Chicago Heights, located 30 miles south of the City of Big Shoulders.

“I just called to tell you that I watched your game against Northern Michigan last Saturday,” he informed Carpenter. “I have no ties to BU, but I just wanted to say that watching that game was an exciting, absorbing experience. It was just great.”

That game.

The caller’s reference to “that” game was the 1991 NCAA hockey championship game between the Terriers and Wildcats at the St. Paul Civic Center in Minnesota, the rink that featured clear boards and the venue that once served as the home of the Minnesota Fighting Saints of the defunct World Hockey Association. It was also where Harvard had won its first and only NCAA title two years before, defeating Minnesota in overtime.

The BU-NMU game took over four hours to complete (ending past midnight on the East Coast), featured comebacks from three goals down by each team over the final two periods, went to three overtimes and had 88 combined shots on goal. It showcased continual shifts in momentum on the ice, endless swings of emotion on the benches, in the arena and for those watching the dramatic game unfold on television. And finally, there was one euphoric team creating a pile of bodies in celebration on the ice where the winning goal had been scored while the losing squad simply watched in silence, slumped in exhaustion against the boards or mostly motionless on the bench.

It is a game still remembered and dissected two decades later, in arena corridors, over beers at a bar, on message boards and wherever else there is talk about the history of the NCAA Hockey Tournament. Whenever chatter about the greatest NCAA hockey championship games surfaces, the 1991 final rightfully earns a place in the discussion. Although it’s a fruitless exercise to determine what the “best” NCAA hockey championship game of all time is, simply because there have been so many enthralling ones down through the years, it’s difficult to come up with a more compelling back-and-forth clash than the one that took place on March 30, 1991. [MORE]

1 comment:

joseph burrell said...

hey it is so easy for me to look back at the 90s because that was the best time of my life when I was at college and my pals and I did not miss a single game :D

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