Radio Waves

Griffel Ball

Call them the heart attack kids or whatever, but the Harvard men's hockey team has been a literal thrill to follow-in person or on the radio-all year long.

Saturday's 5-4 overtime win at St. Lawrence was just one more example of this.

I was sitting in my room in Cabot House Saturday night, listening to the game on WHRB as I always do when I'm not fortunate enough to travel seven hours to such beautiful locales as Canton and Potsdam, New York. (Go north on I-93 and if you hit Canada, then you've gone too far.)

Anyway, there were 18 seconds left in the contest against the 10th-place Saints, and announcers Ian Stern and Dave Mainen were commenting on how painful this loss would be for the Crimson, especially since the playoffs are just about to begin.

Harvard hadn't scored in over half an hour of hockey time, so why would anything so special happen now?

After all, last year's team tied Clarkson and lost to St. Lawrence on the final weekend of the regular season, before falling in the ECAC semifinals and NCAA first round. This game-and the season-had to end the same way, didn't it?

Harvard lost the face-off, and the puck bounced back over senior Chris Baird's stick past the blue line, the red line, even into the Crimson's own end of the ice.

Seemed like the game had ended for all practical purposes-the Saints most definitely would score an empty-netter, just like they did last year.

Then again, Yogi Berra did coin the eloquent saying, "It ain't over 'til it's over."

How prophetic Sir Yogi was-a miracle did happen, and it went something like this:

"Baird picks it up and gives it to [Derek] Maguire. [Steve] Martins now has it in the St. Lawrence Zone and is looking for someone...[Sean] McCann misses the puck and..." (pause)

"THEY SCORE!!!!!!!!! Brian Farrell has tied the game with :04 seconds left!!!!!!"

(Wild screaming from Dave and Ian; also maniacal outbursts from myself and other Cabot hockey fans)

After all, I don't have to be too impartial when I'm not covering the game. You could have told me that I had just won the lottery at that moment, and I don't think I would have reacted with any more excitement.

There is something so special about sports-when your team has done something good, all of your other problems seem to go away for that moment. Your boss could tell you, "You're fired!,' but if your team has done something special, the pain of losing your job probably won't hit-at least for an hour or two.

The only pain, as I can attest, from such a moment as Farrell's goal is the extremely hoarse throat I got from screaming and the sore feet I got when I stomped up and down on the floor out of joy.

On the other side of the sports roller-coaster, I sometimes feel like killing myself (or maybe someone else) if one of my teams loses a heart-breaker. (For example, I feel like destroying something every year when the New York Rangers celebrate their annual elimination from the Stanley Cup playoffs.)

But, all of this went through my mind only before Harvard actually won the game.

Of course there was more excitement to come. Junior Perry Cohagan's game-winner at 4:04 of OT was almost too much excitement to handle.

(Especially because the only other person I know from Parma, Ohio--Trin A. Mitra '96-went absolutely bonkers when his hometown guy, Perry Cohagan, scored his second goal of the season. My splitting headache from his loud shouts of 'Parma Power' is enough proof.)

Yet, one would expect that Harvard would win the game in overtime, given the momentum it gained from Farrell's equalizer.

Harvard had already defeated Brown, Princeton and Dartmouth in overtime on the road after rallying from behind late in the third period, so there was some precedent for an extra-session win against St. Lawrence.

My heart didn't stop as much during the other three OT wins, but this one was just too much to take.

(By the way, four overtime wins ties the season record for Harvard hockey, set last in 1989 by that national championship team.)

I guess it is better sometimes to be impartial, but heck--you got to be a fan once in a while.

David S. Griffel is an assistant sports editor of The Crimson. And all in all, we think Harvard has a better chance of winning the national title this season than his Rangers do in breaking through for their first Stanley Cup since 1940.