Under the Big Top at Meehan
When you go to an amusement park, there are usually height limits for some of the rides.
There were no height limits for the Harvard and Brown men's hockey teams at Meehan Auditorium Saturday night, but the shorter players and objects went for quite a ride.
First of all, Harvard's 5'9" junior Steve Martins was a side-show event for the Brown players. Instead of throwing bean bags and trying to knock Martins down from a platform, the Bears used their sticks in attempts to decapitate him. The only prizes handed out were two-minute high-sticking and slashing penalties.
Martins also created his own event--remaining upright without sharp skates. The results here were mixed--Martins' skates went out from under him about four times during the first two periods, earning him a nice ice-cold bottom. However, he did take home a worthy consolation gift--an assist and two goals, one of which he banked in off the goalie's pads from behind the net.
"I lost an edge on one of the skates," Martins said. "I had to have them sharpened."
Not to be outperformed, sophomore goalie Tripp Tracy participated in the bumper car game, the only problem being that he was always on the receiving end.
The 5'10" netminder from Grosse Point Farms, Michigan was upended twice by Brown forwards during the action following Harvard's equalizer late in the third period and in the overtime.
Nonetheless, Tracy was able to keep his eye on the puck and made several acrobatic saves to keep his team in the game.
"I'm certainly not the biggest goalie out there," Tracy said. "My defense did protect me pretty well, however. It was just good hockey."
Inanimate objects also were on the receiving ends of some pretty strong hits.
There was The Main Event: Harvard's Ethan Philpott, a 6'4", 235-pound forward vs. The Goal, a combination of metal and mesh that stands under five feet tall and doesn't weigh too much.
And you guessed it--Philpott won. With Harvard pressing for the tying goal in the third period, the freshman line of Craigen, Swenson and Philpott had a good scoring chance stopped, and Brown was starting to come out with the puck.
However, Philpott had charged towards the net to go for a rebound with a man on him, and Mack Trucks just don't come to a full stop very quickly. In a matter of seconds, the net was resting against the boards, the referee's whistle blew to stop the play and the two magnetic rods that hold the net in place had also been uprooted.
(Opposing players will probably get the same treatment sooner or later this season.)
Off the Ice
However, the 3,100-plus fans in the sold-out arena were treated to more than just an amusing and exciting game.
Brown sports and the city of Providence have their own mascot besides the Brown Bear: The Pizza Pie-er fairy, who hands out fliers saying that "If Brown scores, You win a Pizza." Seriously, this is a man (said to be the owner of the joint) who dresses up in a green, red and white jester outfit--sort of what the jocker looks like in a deck of playing cards--except that this guy is for real.
And the tension was never greater than during the second intermission when he sponsored the Pizza Pie-er Shoot-out. Two 10-year-old boys tried to shoot as many pucks as possible from center ice into an empty net in 20 seconds, with the winner receiving an all-expense-paid pizza party. Eat your heart out, Bright Arena!
The $100,000 Question
Finally, the $100,000 question: What do you do when the show is over?
Fly U.S. Air, of course. The announcer only mentioned that U.S. Air is "the official sponsor of Brown athletics" and that "Brown athletes fly U.S. Air whenever possible" seven times throughout the game. (As if the team would give up the pleasure of six-hour bus trips for a one-hour plane ride.)
I wonder if they'll give a free ticket to the Pizza Pie-er guy. One way.
David S. Griffel is a Crimson staff writer. He stands 5'7".