Saturday, March 13, 2010

3-13-10: Hockey East Championship 2010

Last night marked the start of the 2010 Hockey East Tournament, with the first Quarterfinal round games being played between the top eight teams in the conference.

I've been following Hockey East since 1990, when I was four and living in Durham, NH. We lived clear across town from UNH, but we went to nearly every home Men's Hockey game we could. I have many fond memories of Snively Arena ("lively Snively") with its bleachers and raucous crowds. That was a long time ago in college hockey, which at times seems to be more of a show than a college sport with some of the pre-game introductions they do. UNH now plays in the Whittemore Center, which I had the chance to play in a few times before moving to Connecticut in middle school. Despite the changes in venue and attitude, the college game is fantastic to watch, and I try to take advantage whenever I can.

UNH has won Hockey East before, but I never had a chance to see it live. This year they finished Hockey East Regular Season Champions, which they've done several times before. It matters not, though, unless they win the tournament. When I was in college, I went to the tournament semi-finals in Boston, only to see them lose to UMass. Very disappointing. The last time they won the tournament was in 2003; their last appearance in the championship game was a 5-2 loss to Boston College in 2007.

And UNH once again showed signs of struggling last night in their first quarterfinal game against Vermont. After two periods of play, they were down 4-2. The game was not on NESN (they had the BU - Merrimack game), so when I saw that score, I figured "Oh well, another year, another disappointment."

Then I saw the score this morning: 7-4 UNH. WHOA! The Wildcats scored five unanswered goals in the third period to take a sizable lead going into the second game tonight at Vermont. Hopefully they can keep things going and I'll be seeing them next Friday on NESN.


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