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Last night, Len Ceglarski became the winningest coach in the history of college hockey. Or did he?
With zero seconds left in overtime in last night's Boston College-Harvard Beanpot consolation game, Eagle forward Ken Hodge smashed a shot from the mid-line that flew past Harvard goalie Dickie McEvoy and into the net, lifting Boston College to a 7-6 victory at Boston Garden.
The win gave Eagle Coach Ceglarski his 556th career victory, breaking John Maclnnes's record. Maclnnes coached at Michigan Tech from 1956 to 1982.
But the record-breaking triumph was achieved in an aura of controversy. After Hodge's shot fell into the back of the Crimson net, Eagle players mauled Hodge. Meanwhile, McEvoy and nearly the entire Crimson bench chased after referee Ben Albert, arguing that the puck had gone into the net after the game had ended.
Harvard Coach Bill Cleary, McEvoy and Crimson Captain Peter Chiarelli protested heatedly, first appealing to Albert--who had ruled the shot a goal--and then to the official scorer. But the goal stood, and Ceglarski had his record.
Dana Henning, supervisor of officials for Hockey East, later announced that "the referee determined that the puck went into the net before the horn went off."
The green light behind the Harvard net was illuminated--signaling the game over--before the shot. But the light is operated by someone standing behind the net, whereas the horn is run mechanically in conjunction with the scoreboard, and is therefore infallible, Henning explained.
Henning said Albert did not hear the horn before the puck went into the net, and therefore ruled the shot a goal.
McEvoy had another perspective: "It wasn't a goal," he said. "I was skating off the ice. I didn't even try to stop the shot. I just kind of feigned at it. The game was over."
Cleary was still visibly upset a half an hour after the game had ended. "The green light goes on," he said, "there's no goal. Jeepers, creepers, it's a tough way to lose."
Ceglarski admitted that he had not seen the shot. "The kids were yelling for Kenny to shoot the puck," Ceglarski said. "From where I was standing, I couldn't see anything."
But despite the controversy, Ceglarski had his record.
"The thing that's nice about it," Ceglarski continued, "is that I got a telegram from the first captain I had and I got another letter from a player who was a part of my first victory 29 years ago. That's what it's all about, not so much the numbers but the personal side of it."
Cleary congratulated Ceglarski on the record, but admitted, "I don't think he should have got it tonight."
Harvard (now 17-3) jumped to leads of 2-0, 3-1 and 5-3 before B.C. staged a powerful comeback in the third period. With Harvard ahead by two, the Eagles rattled off three goals, including a pair by Hodge, to pull ahead by one with less than three minutes left in the game.
Harvard had been in the same situation before. Against Northeastern, in the opening round of the Beanpot, Harvard fell behind by two goals late in the third period only to tie the game and send it into overtime.
Harvard forward Tim Barakett scored the tying goal in the North-eastern contest, and he did it again last night.
With just over a minute left in the game, Harvard wing C.J. Young controlled the puck in front of the B.C. net. The puck slid to Barakett on the right. Barakett mishandled it and didn't shoot immediately, but managed to recover in time to drive a shot past B.C. goalie David Littman.
The game will go down as one of the most memorable in Beanpot history, despite the fact that it was the undercard to last night's Boston College-Northeastern final. Most will remember it as Ceglarski's 556th win. A few Harvard players, however, will remember it differently.
"It's so blatant," Chiarelli said. "It ruined the best game of the year."
Eagles, 7-6(OT) at Boston Garden B.C. 1-2-3-1--7 Harvard 3-1-2-0--6
First Period--1, H, Tim Barakett 18 (Randy Taylor, Allen Bourbeau) 2:01; 2, H, Bourbeau 13 (Lane MacDonald) 11:14; 3, BC, Brian Leetch 7 (Ken Hodge) 18:39; 4, H, Steve Armstrong 6 (Barakett, Chris Biotti) 19:47. Penalties-Steve Scheifele, BC, (hitting from behind) 1:29; Dan Shea, BC, (high sticking) 10:55.
Second Period--5, BC, Schiefele 11 (Hodge) 0:46; 6, BC, Craig Janney 16 (Greg Brown) 4:07; 7, H, MacDonald (Mark Benning, Taylor) 9:57, Penalties--Taylor, H, (elbowing) 3:32, Kevin Stevens, BC, (tripping) 4:50; Stevens, BC, (interference) 9:48; Jerry Pawloski, H, (interference) 11:29; Don Sweeney, H, (elbowing) 12:58.
Third Period--8, H, C.J. Young 7 (MacDonald, Benning) 5:00; 9, BC, Tim Sweeney 22 (Shea) 7:34 10, BC, Hodge 19 Janney, Stevens) 16:39; 11, BC. Hodge 20 (Stevens)17:17; 12, H, Barakett 19 (Young, Bourbeau) 18:53. Penalties--Mike-Gervase, BC, (hitting from behind) 6:15; Armstrong, H, (hooking) 8:35, Peter Chiarelli, H (tripping) 15:56; David Buckley, BC, (interference) 16:45.
Overtime--13. BC, Hodge 21 (Leetch, Stevens) 9:59. Penalties--Schiefele, BC, (tripping) 3:40; MacDonald, H, (slashing) 4:27; Taylor, H, (holding) 8:44.
Saves---BC, David Littman 13-11-8-6--38; H, Dickie McEvoy 9-9-9-2--29
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