I waited a couple days on posting this, and it's still pretty hard to comprehend. There was never a point in the game on Friday that I felt confident in Holy Cross beating the Gophers, until a few seconds after the overtime goal went in the net, and even then it took a little while for it to actually sink in. I did say in my preview that if Holy Cross could score first, it would be an interesting game, but I could have never dreamed it would be *that* interesting. It's kind of silly if you think about it, because if you knew nothing about college hockey and just happened to be watching the game, you'd probably say the two teams were about equal with either having the chance to win. You have to tip your hat to Holy Cross because they played a great hockey game that is going to be remembered for a long time.
There were some great post-game quotes including goalie Tony Quesada's "They didn't test me as much as I thought they would," which was surprisingly true, but my absolute favorite was Tyler McGregor, who scored the game-winning overtime goal, who said "At least you(opponents of the Gophers) will have some more ammo next time you play them."
Tyler, you have no idea. "At least I didn't lose to Holy Cross" won't only be a rallying cry for hockey for many years to come, but will also be used in everyday life, as in, "Dear God, I must have made 20 typos in that last blog entry. But at least I didn't lose to Holy Cross."
That's probably the way it should be though. Karma came back and bit the Gophers hard. All season this team struggled with giving their best effort. They earned a pretty solid reputation for having terrible practice habits. They just seemed like a team that heard how great they were enough times that they started believing it. Their failure should be a monument to the fact that effort isn’t something you can just turn on and off like a faucet. Once you lose that intensity, it’s very tough to regain.
A bit of justice was served to a few individual players as well. Last December, Gopher forward and North Dakota native Danny Irmen chose to wave his stick and pull on his jersey to taunt the Sioux fans after scoring a goal. Last Friday, Irmen was waving his stick and weakly tugging on the jersey of a Holy Cross player while he tried to backcheck as Tyler McGregor deposited the game-winning goal into the back of the net. Irmen is likely to sign with the Minnesota Wild this summer, meaning his last collegiate game will have been a loss in his home state, while the rival Sioux earned a second consecutive trip to the Frozen Four.
The same is true for Phil Kessel. He made it a point to taunt his native Wisconsin fans when he scored against the Badgers in Madison. I wonder if Kessel was able to hear the Wisconsin fans when Kessel’s rival Jack Skille score in triple overtime to send Wisconsin to the Frozen Four while Kessel sat at home in Minneapolis trying to decide how he wanted to spend his summer.
Holy Cross’ victory on Friday was a thing of beauty. The little guys that went out and did their job beat the big guys who thought they could coast by on their talent. Opportunities like this where the universe aligns itself and the right people finally get what is coming to them don’t happen very often, but boy is it ever sweet when they do.