In a game which began half an hour late because the Colorado Rockies' equipment arrived last, the Boston Bruins scored two goals in last five minutes to edge the Rockies 4-3 and make them wish the equipment had never come at all.
Gary Doak tallied the game-winning score with only 1:50 left in the contest, taking a cross-ice pass from Jean Ratelle and beating Rockies goalie Michelle Plasse with a low, hard slap shot from the right point.
Between the Legs
The goal followed a short period of intense Bruin pressure that began when they scored the tying goal with 5:33 left in the contest. Terry O'Reilly pushed home that goal, placing the puck between Plasse's legs and into the net with a soft shot after taking a pass from Mike Millbury on the left wing.
Only seconds after that goal, Gregg Shephard almost put the Bruins ahead, breaking in on Plasse and missing the right post with a shot from just outside the crease. Shephard almost scored again a minute later but Plasse fell on the puck before Shephard could poke it in with his stick.
The Bruins began the game in the same fashion as they ended it-by scoring a goal. With only 1:37 gone, Jean Ratelle dug the puck out of the corner, skated behind the net and flipped the puck in front to Rick Middleton who easily beat Plasse on his right.
Save By The Post
The early goal seemed to make the Bruins relax and Colorado took control, being foiled only by a brilliant Gerry Cheevers save on a power-play attempt and then by a post that kept the puck out when Cheevers lay sprawled on the ice.
The Rockies finally gained reward for their efforts as rookie Joe Contini banged home his seventh goal in 11 games by lifting a shot into the right side of the net as Cheevers skated five feet out of the crease to cut down the angle.
Early in the second period the Rockies went ahead for the first time in the game. With Terry O'Reilly serving a Gerry Cheevers slashing penalty, Dennis Owchar slapped a shot past a screened out Cheevers into the left corner of the net.
After Stan Jonathan tied the score by lifting the puck into the roof of the goal with five minutes left in the period the Bruins tried desperately to gain the lead before the end of the stanza.
Gregg Shephard had a breakaway attempt with the Bruins short-handed but Michelle Plasse foiled him with a brilliant save, picking his right leg off the ice in time to block a short Shephard shot with his thigh. In the last 60 seconds Rick Middleton almost made it 3-2 but his failure sent the game into the eventful final period at 2-2.
At the end of the first period the Bruins lost Bobby Schmautz who slid into the boards and hurt his right heel. Schmautz, who has scored 21 points in his last 13 games was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital for X-rays.
New England's other hockey team, the Whalers, were unable to play a scheduled game in Houston last night as a blizzard left them stranded in Cincinnati.
A revised schedule calls for the Whalers to travel to Birmingham Friday to play the Bulls and then fly to Houston for games Saturday and Sunday night.