Sunday, March 29, 2009

Loss For Words

As the third period of yesterday's game wound away there was a sense of resigned satisfaction among the faithful.

The Wildcats had given the Fighting Sioux a run for their money.

They had jumped out to an early lead to thrill Wildcat Nation - only to trail by the end of the first.

They rallied back to take a 3-2 lead - and had it evaporate shortly thereafter.

North Dakota would get the next three goals and with their fifth goal coming near the halfway point of the third period it would seem to spell out another season of one-and-done for the Wildcats.

But our Wildcats continued to play.

And Wildcat Nation was satisfied that our men had played their best. That they had given us all that they had. Then they showed us a little more.

A game for the ages.

Captain Greg Collins would sneak to the door post and take a beautiful pass from freshman, Damon Kipp - who played superbly yesterday afternoon showing us the face of future Wildcat leadership - who slipped the puck down from the point where the senior would redirect it past the North Dakota goaltender bringing the game to within one.


And Wildcat Nation began to wonder, does this team have the magic?

From that point on nothing would be held back. Brian Foster would uphold his end of the bargain. The players would sacrifice their bodies.

Then the moment arrived for Foster to head for the bench with many of the crowd protesting in fear of the open net. But it was out of our netminder's hands, whose final bid to help the team stay in the game would be to relinquish his post and leave it in the hands of his teammates with an extra skater taking his place on the ice.

Desperate chances.

Brutally rebuffed.

5.7 seconds.

Kapstad calls sophomore Sislo to take the left flank on the offensive blueline at the faceoff.

The drop.

The senior defenseman stretches impossibly far for his 5'10" frame.

He corals the puck and sends it to the sophomore who fires.

It's wide.

There is Jerry Pollastrone. He has electrified the crowd by pulling down a pass from the hockey gods to tie the game at two earlier. But he is behind the net.

He sees fellow senior Thomas Fortney behind him, in front of the net.

Backhand pass.

Fortney swipes.

It's deflected up.

It's in!

.1 second.

The crowd erupts.

The UNH bench turns into a mosh pit.

Tie Game! Tie Game! Tie Game!

A few frantic heartbeats and Wildcat Nation was in a frenzy.

The battle was on.


The thrill has yet to die down.

The puck hits the ice.

Some neutral ice shuffling sees the puck go back and forth and a quick line change brings Peter LeBlanc onto the ice.

Before leaving the ice, Sislo finds Pollastrone who slips over the line heading out wide to the left. LeBlanc streaks up the middle. Pollastrone flips the puck to LeBlanc.


It's in!

It's over!

Wildcats win!

The crowd's roar reverberates through the building.

The teams shake hands to congratulate each other on an absolutely incredible game.

The UNH Men's Hockey Team salutes the still roaring crowd then takes to the locker room for a well-earned break.

That brings us to today.

The Wildcats will take on top ranked BU.

There is nowhere that you want to be other than the Verizon Wireless Arena today.

Tickets are still available.

Let's fill this building and send our Wildcats off with the hero's farewell, one way or another, that they deserve.

Now, how about seeing some highlights from yesterday's game one more time...

Go 'Cats!


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