Saturday, June 02, 2007

Remembering October 18, 2003

Friday 17 October 2003... it was this writer's first road trip, first college hockey game, first hockey game period. That night was also Coach Jamie Russell's first regular season game as head coach of the Michigan Tech Huskies.

The place... Northern Michigan University's Berry Events Center, located in the craphole that is Marquette, Michigan. When the Huskies and Wildcats get together, you KNOW you can expect one hell of a game. This night was no different. And like every Tech-NMU game, it was a close one throughout. Unfortunately, Michigan Tech had two players in the penalty box during overtime, which eventually lead to a 5 on 3 game winner for the 'Cats.

Heartbreaking, indeed. Not what Coach Russell was looking for in his first game as head coach.

Now onto the next night. The night I, and many others like me, will never forget. This is the night that made me who I am today. This is the night that changed my life forever.

The game was started off the right way, with a Chris Conner (Colin Murphy, John Scott) goal coming at 5:46 of the first. The lead didn't last long though, as NMU struck back less than 3 minutes later.

In the second period, Tech scored twice with goals from Brandon Schwartz and Colin Murphy to make the score 3-1. The Huskies thought they were sitting comfortably with a two goal lead; however, NMU wasn't done yet. In fact, they were only getting started. Those pesky Wildcats scored 5 more unanswered goals, 4 of those coming in the 3rd period with the last one at 15:22. Unfortunately, when NMU's 6th goal came around with less than 5 minutes left in regulation, many of the Tech fans decided that there were more important things to do than perhaps witness one of the greatest comeback games ever played in the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena. Not only did fans leave after NMU's 6th goal, but this awful, horrible, ugly and fat Wildcat fan took off his shirt and started waving it around. Maybe that was actually why the Tech fans left. Who knows.

This night isn't looking good for the Huskies, who were desperately seeking revenge for the previous night's game. Four and a half minutes is plenty of time to stage a comeback though, right?

Nick Anderson, with a little help from Jon Pittis, got things moving in the right direction with his goal at 17:55. Two goals to go to force OT... just over 2 minutes left. I looked at my friend with eyes that said, "...well... maybe it can happen..." And although he was happy about the goal we just got, he doubtfully shook his head no. For some reason, I wanted to keep the hope.

18:34 of the third: score one for Colin Murphy, his second of the game. One more goal to go. One minute and twenty six seconds left to do this. Coach Russell thought it would be a good time to call a timeout here to make up a play to push this one into overtime.

Play started back up, and as soon as it was okay to do so, goaltender Cam Ellsworth rushed to the team bench and a sixth skater scurried to the ice. Time was ticking down, but the Huskies kept on throwing shot after shot on NMU netminder Craig Kowalski. With just 28 seconds remaining, assistant captain Colin Murphy completes his hat trick and ties up the game.

What a great feeling that was! In response to NMU's fat, ugly guy who earlier removed his shirt, Michigan Tech had a fatter, hairier guy remove his shirt and start swinging it around. It was disgusting, but it was absolutely sweet.

Going into overtime, MTU held a 44-31 SOG advantage over NMU, with 18 of those coming in the 3rd period.

With the bonus hockey beginning, there was no other option for Michigan Tech other than to win this game. They had come too far to make it a tie or a loss.

And sure enough, at 2:58 in, Colin Murphy, with a little help from Jon Pittis, put the game away for Michigan Tech.

Now, my team has never won a National Championship since I've been following them or even since I've been alive... but I have a pretty good idea of what it might feel like. The feelings that I experienced when this game was said and done have to be at least similar to those one may experience when their team wins a national championship. The euphoria was SO INTENSE. Nothing had ever made me feel the way I felt at that moment.

And do you remember that fat, gross, hairy shirtless Tech fan I spoke about earlier? Oh yeah, he was definitely going nuts waving his shirt around... rubbing it right back in the faces of the NMU fans who were taunting us earlier. Ladies and gentleman, this is the night when the lengendary Shirtless Guy was born.

October 18, 2003 is a night that Michigan Tech fans will never forget. It was a game that it looked like for sure we were going to lose... but with the persevering attitudes of the Huskies and the great coaching by Jamie Russell, a great story was made for the history books. Welcome aboard, Coach Russell.

USCHO Box Score


Anonymous said...

I'm still pissed I missed that game. ****ing Army band concert that Alton wanted some WS people to play in...

But Senior Night this last year partially made up for it.


MeanEgirl said...

Senior night was great and all... but it could not have even partially made up for missing this game. I know you're trying to make yourself feel better about it, but there's just no way. Nothing this sweet will ever happen again.

WildMTUFan said...

I sat in the lockerroom under the stands getting ready for my game that followed directly after it. The crowd roaring three times after we'd just heard that the game was all but over was ridiculous. All of us in the locker room were just getting more and more excited by the action going on outside the doors, but we weren't allowed to watch. However a half hour later when we got our chance to step on the ice we could stilll feel the excitement, still feel the greatest comeback in recent Tech history. We dominated that night beating the poor team from Indianapolis who had a long ride home that next morning.

MeanEgirl said...

That must have been TORTURE not being able to see what the hell was going on out there.

Thanks for sharing your story.