Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Few Good Men

Ask a BU fan to name his or her five most memorable Terrier wins that were not NCAA titles games and you’ll get a wide variety of responses .  Younger fans are likely to call out the 2006 and 2009 Hockey East championship game victories over “the team from up the block,” two Red Hot Hockey victories over Cornell at Madison Square Garden or BU's the Frozen Fenway triumph over the Eagles.

More “experienced” fans  might choose BU’s first hockey East title  in 1986 when Peter Marshall scored a hattrick, the 7-6 come-from-behind win against Clarkson in the 1977 ECAC semifinal when BU scored three times in the game’s final minutes, or reaching way back, the  13-6 blowout of Princeton at MSG’s Holiday Festival in 1966 when legendary sportswriter Red Smith dubbed the sophomore combination of Herb Wakabayashi, Mickey Gray and Serge Boily as “the pinball line,” after witnessing their 13-point effort.  A few of our blog contributors like to recall the 1990 comeback win at Michigan State, overcoming a 3-1 deficit to win, 5-3 and move on to the Final Four.  Personally, I’m partial to the 1970 Beanpot championship win against BC when BU’s top defensive forward, Wayne Gowing, scored a third-period hattrick for a 5-4 win.

However,  anyone who’s been a diehard Terrier fan for at least 15 years will certainly point to BU’s 3-2 upset of defending national champion Michigan in the 1997 NCAA semifinal. With seven 20-goal scorers and standouts in Brendan Morrison, John Madden and Marty Turco, the Wolverines were ranked #1 virtually all season. BU had earned its third Hockey East title in four years, but the lean Terrier roster had considerably less firepower.  Yet a perfect game plan, well executed, produced a truly memorable victory. 

In his latest “Terrier Tales” feature article, blog contributor mh82 has chronicled the 1996-97 season, including the the Michigan game, when “a few good men” made Terrier history and nearly brought home another NCAA title.

The 1996-97 Terriers: A Few Good Men


When the Boston University hockey team skated onto the ice at the Riverfront Coliseum in Cincinnati for a semifinal round matchup against the University of Michigan in the 1996 NCAA Tournament, the Terriers did so as defending national champions.

Just 361 days earlier, BU had defeated Maine 6-2 in the 1995 title game at the Providence Civic Center, earning the school's fourth NCAA crown and its first since 1978.

The Terriers had begun the 1995-96 season with a talent-laden roster that included a pair of returning All-American forwards in First Team selection Mike Grier and Second Team pick Chris O'Sullivan, with those two the top two scorers on the national championship squad. Joining Grier and O'Sullivan were 10 other veterans who had helped the Terriers capture two consecutive Hockey East championships and had competed in two straight NCAA championship games, losing to Lake Superior State in 1994 and downing the Black Bears in '95. Coach Jack Parker and his club had their sights set on becoming the first school to string together three straight Hockey East titles and the first to win back-to-back NCAA championships since the dominant BU teams of the early 1970s turned the trick in '71 and '72.

"We have enough skill to have a successful season," Parker said of his team in the preseason. "Just how successful we are, though, depends on our mental approach. It will be interesting to see how the players come together as a team. That is going to be very important this year because everyone will be pointing to us [as defending NCAA champions]."
Highlights of BU-Michigan, March 27, 1997

Note: This video is now included in our page of "Milestone Goals and Games" in the Video Highlights section of our sidebar.

1 comment:

TCB said...

Eddie Wrightwas the third member of the pinball line...

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