Hockey East Championship
Maine prevails in fourth-longest game ever
2, Massachusetts 1 3OT
Degon, T. Pock
Deschamps, C. Lyall
Gabe Winer, 109:27, 59 saves, 2 GA
Jim Howard, 109:27, 64 saves, 1 GA
MA 7/14; ME 8/16
Plays: MA 1-4; ME 1-3
Jim Howard, Maine (MVP)
D: Prestin Ryan, Maine
D: Thomas Pock, Massachusetts
F: Colin Shields, Maine
F: Mike Warner, Massachusetts
F: Greg Mauldin, Massachusetts
Just before midnight, after 109 minutes and 27 seconds in the
fourth-longest game in college hockey history, Ben Murphy looked
like he could skate forever.
Mathew Deschamps' shot between the legs of Massachusetts goaltender
Gabe Winer to score the winner, Murphy sprinted towards the far
end of the ice. It was a celebration that belied the physical
and emotional strain every player was under after six periods
of intense hockey.
good out there, actually," said Maine goaltender Jim Howard
afterwards, in a sweaty t-shirt with his leg pads still on. "I
still feel good right now, for some reason. Whenever I sit down
it will probably hit me."
to maintain its strength throughout the lengthy overtimes, while
Massachusetts faded after an impressive first OT.
feel that eventually the tide would start to turn in our favor,
the longer it went," head coach Tim Whitehead said. "We
didn't shorten our bench, and we had a little bit more of a rest
after yesterday (having played the first semifinal game)."
Bears stayed mentally and physically sharp between periods as
well. Murphy got a shot of coffee from assistant coach Campbell
Blair before returning to the ice for the third overtime, while
the team's leaders, led by Todd Jackson, kept their teammates
really got to compliment our captains," Howard said. "They
had us upbeat in the dressing room the whole time."
head coach Don Cahoon marveled at the intensity of both teams
as the game went on.
can't imagine what it's like between periods trying to keep these
guys fresh," he said. "There are all sorts of battles
with cramps, battles with stomach ailments."
all his speed on the ice after scoring the winner, wasn't shy
about his fatigue.
just glad it's over," he said. "I'm so tired."
doesn't usually play games on consecutive nights for Maine. When
he got the start Saturday night, little did he know he'd be playing
the equivalent of three games in two days.
he likes the time in net. Howards heroics, especially in the first
overtime when Massachusetts held a 19-8 shot advantage, were the
only reason this game lasted as long as it did.
way, he earned tournament MVP honors and gave head coach Tim Whitehead
to stick with him for the NCAA Tournament instead of returning
to a rotation of Howard and senior Frank Doyle.
goaltending was immense at both ends," said UMass head coach
Don Cahoon. "This game could have been over 10 times."
Winer was impressive at the other end, it was Howard's performance
that recalled names like Chris Terreri. He carried a shutout streak
of 164:13 until Greg Mauldin's third period goal, and he hasn't
allowed an even-strength goal in his last 11 games. Howard, while
setting a Maine record for saves in a game with 63, fell one stop
short of Terreri's Hockey East Tournament record.
save? An acrobatic, windmill-like stop on Thomas Pöck, as
the Minuteman defenseman fired his own rebound.
Howard stopped that is beyond me," Cahoon said.
been saving that move all season," Howard joked afterwards.
The way he's
playing, he could have four more games to showcase his talents.
And he can play longer, if need be.
INCH's Three Stars of the Weekend
Dustin Penner, Maine
a team full of speedsters like Todd Jackson and Greg Moore,
the 6-foot-4 Penner adds size, and he used it nicely this
Thomas Pöck, Massachusetts
Massachusetts' leader nearly ended things in the
first overtime on one of his many end-to-end rushes.
Jim Howard, Maine
Howard typically makes every save look easy, but
he was acrobatic when necessary Saturday night.
AND HEARD AT THE FLEET
Massachusetts had won, Michigan State might have lost its NCAA
Tournament bid. Maine would have owed the Spartans an apology,
and not just for this game. Notre Dame could have edged out MSU
for the final at-large spot on the strength of quality wins, including
a 1-0 decision against the Black Bears in December.
it could have been just the universe balancing out. In 1997, Michigan
State gained the 12th and final bid to the tournament that would
have gone to Maine, had it not been ineligible for the postseason
that year. Shawn Walsh, a former MSU assistant coach whose sons
lived in East Lansing at the time, even attended the Spartans'
selection show viewing party that year and reminded the team of
their good fortune.
result of this game would have no impact on Maine's seed in the
NCAA Tournament, but it was clear right from the starting lineups
how important the title was to the Black Bears. Whitehead broke
from his usual goaltending rotation and gave the nod to red-hot
Jim Howard for the second straight night.
Whitehead showed some anger behind the Maine bench that was reminiscent
of his predecessor, Walsh, after a whistle behind the play stopped
a Maine rush on which Colin Shields shot (after the whistle) and
scored. Whitehead's emotions continued to boil shortly thereafter
during a confrontation involving several players in front of the
Maine bench. Whitehead ended up standing in front of the players'
bench, but never got one foot up on the dasher, Walsh-style.
Bruins' 5-4, come-from-behind win over Tampa Bay Saturday afternoon
had more college hockey implications than you might think. First,
it improves Boston's chances of getting home-ice advantage in
the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, which would coincide
with the Frozen Four at the FleetCenter. Second, it gave FleetCenter
personnel an opportunity to practice a simpler version of the
change-up that would be required in April. Essentially, the Fleet
had to replace some of the dasher-board advertisements; more of
them would have to change for NCAA games. Hockey East officials
reported that the changeover went smoothly.
a weekend full of reviewed goals, the off-ice officials confirmed
that they did take a look at Murphy's game-winner to confirm that
it was legit.
in the press box between the second and third overtimes: "Is
Steve Levy working this game?"
into the second overtime the two teams were skating well, and
letting their speed show. The game was played at a great pace,
with much more end-to-end action than the score, or the length
of the game, would suggest. Only in the third overtime did the
teams really start to show their fatigue.
belated plus to Jack Parker for a classy move on Friday night.
As some of his Terriers were leaving the ice following their 1-0
loss to Maine, Parker called the entire team back to center ice
for a stick salute.
one-piece sticks are becoming to hockey what seagulls were to
the Toronto Blue Jays' old Exhibition Stadium: they're everywhere.
One actually led to Maine's first goal, as Michel Léveillé
snapped his twig on a one-timer, and Dustin Penner put the rebound
past Gabe Winer. In the second overtime Massachusetts had two
sticks break on one shift, but Winer froze the puck before Maine
could do any damage.
of a No. 1 seed when the NCAA Tournament pairings are announced
tomorrow (2:30 p.m., ESPN2), awaits its regional destination –
Manchester or Albany.
coming as close as you could conceive to its first NCAA bid, ends
its most successful season in history. "We want to get back
to this game," said head coach Don Cahoon afterwards. "We
want to get back and win this game."