Here on The Blog, we make every effort to be free of partiality when discussing hockey’s highest level.
Not so, though, when talking about the amateur game. You already know my devotion to my beloved UNH Wildcats. But not to be discounted as well is my allegiance to my old high school varsity, Rye High School, which last night helped exorcise some personal demons with a win over upstate Salmon River in the state quarterfinals (here’s the story from my colleague Dan Kiernan, who “made the bold trek to the North Country”:http://www.thejournalnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070307/SPORTS02/703070372/1034/SPORTS).
It was exactly 15 years ago that yours truly played against Salmon River for Rye in the state semifinals in Utica. I was supposedly our team’s best face-off man, and with our team down a goal late in the second period, my coach John Zegras sent me out to take a crucial defensive zone draw to close out the period. I can still see vividly what happened next. I lost the draw, a Salmon River defenseman fired a shot through a screen and past our goalie Brad Erbsland (who, fittingly, played a season at UNH), and the second goal proved to be devastating in an eventual 4-2 loss.
As much as I love playing hockey, seeing that puck in the back of the net probably ranks as the worst feeling I’ve known in sports. Good thing there weren’t blogs and internet message boards back then, or I probably would have been skewered.
On the other side, though, is the sense of triumph those Rye players are feeling right now. Enjoy it fellas, and keep it going. And whatever you do, make sure you tie up your man off the draw.