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BURLINGTON, Vt.--While the rest of Gutterson Field House rocked, ranted and raved at the Harvard-Vermont hockey game, two older-looking gentlemen wearing faded Montreal Canadiens shirts were in the corner of the arena watching the game. They were pensive. They were quiet. They were two of the hockey gods.
And like hockey gods, they were talking about their favorite subject.
"Hey look, Harvard's playing tonight."
"The national champs. Why do you think I came here? I'm supposed to be twisting their fate this season."
"Yeah. And why are you here?"
"For the shopping. I mean, have you ever visited this town during Christmas? Then I heard you were here, so I decided to pay you a visit. You know, for old times sake. Remember all those years with the Bruins? Now that was great."
"Yeah, it was, but that was a long time ago. Now they've got me doing college hockey. It's okay, I guess. I mean, Harvard's an interesting case. National champs one year, snake-bitten hockey team the next."
"You devil, you. What have you done this year?"
"Last week, I was at Colgate. I let the RedRaiders score the game-winner in the closingseconds. Of course, you have the Yale game at thebeginning of the season, too. And don't forgetBrown, Army and RPI."
"Whoa, you're really taking it to them."
"Yeah, I guess. Just trying to make thingstough. Once you're national champs, everyone's outto get you."
"But they're playing well tonight. They weredown, 3-1, and came right back to tie it, 3-3."
"I was just teasing them there."
"You mean, you're not saying that Harvard'sgoing to lose...."
"That is it!"
"No, I wouldn't do that."
"Yes, you would. You see, Vermont just scoredto make it 4-3."
"Don't worry, Harvard's going to come back on agoal by John Murphy on a beautiful pass by MikeVukonich. I have decreed it."
"Oh, so Harvard's going to win."
A few minutes pass. They buy some pretzels andCokes.
"I told you Harvard would score. It's 4-4 now."
"So then, you're going to change things, right?Harvard wins a close one and begins to turn theseason around? This one's going to be it?"
"Look, there goes C.J. Young on a power-playbreakaway. He's going to take a shot. He... wait,his stick broke. What's going on?"
The other god just laughs and munches on hispretzel.
"Wait. There goes Vukonich on a sweep. Heshoots, he... how did the goalie make that save?"
Snickers float through the rafters. A few moreminutes pass. There are less than 30 secondsremaining in the game. The god with the pretzelnudges his friend's stomach.
"Watch this. Jim Larkin's going toscore...(long pause)... Goal!"
"You did it again. Harvard loses, 5-4."
"Hey, what's this? Look, John Weisbrod'sdriving into the zone. He see's C.J. C.J. fakesthe shot and passes it to Vukonich in front of thenet. Score! With six seconds. You were wrong. Youcan't control them."
"Don't mock me... you'll see."
"Overtime. You get this team's hopes up andthen you just stick a pin in them."
"Hey, just doing what was already planned."
"You mean the puck just doesn't magicallybounce the Crimson's way anymore? I thought thoseideas died with the Bruins and Bobby Orr?"
"Oh no. We still use them."
"Here it comes. It's cruel. No team can losethat many games like these. I can't believe it!Why don't you just let Harvard lose, 8-0 nexttime. I mean, if it's already planned..."
"That's too boring. Want a pretzel?"
Catamounts, 6-5 (OT) at Bright Center
HARVARD 1-2-2-0--5Vermont 2-1-2-1--6
First Period--1, V, Brendan Creagh 2(Ricker Love) 7:34; 2, V, Jim Larkin 8 (JohnLeClair) 9:16; 3, H, John Weisbrod 5 (KevanMelrose, Peter Ciavaglia) 11:38. Penalties--V,Jeremey Benoit (interference) 5:24; H, John Murphy(hitting from behind) 5:24; H, Melrose (hittingfrom behind) 6:58; V, Stephane Venne (tripping)10:53; V, Toby Kearney (cross-checking) 16:42; H,Ted Drury (roughing) 19:59.
Second Period--4, V, LeClair 2 (Larkin)3:14; 5, H, Tim Burke 2 (Murphy, Kevin Sneddon)3:46; 6, H, Matt Malgrave 1 (Steve Flomenhoft,Scott Barringer) 12:46. Penalties--H, Melrose(charging) 5:02; V, Rob Bateman (roughing) 5:02;H, Malgrave (roughing) 17:38; H, Flomenhoft(roughing) 17:38; V, LeClair (roughing) 17:38; V,Larkin (roughing) 17:38; H, Melrose (interference)18:08.
Third Period--7, V, LeClair 3 (JimFernholz, Aaron Miller) 0:24; 8, H, Murphy 3(Vukonich, Burke) 7:11; 9, V, Larkin 9 (DaveBrowne, Venne) 19:41; 10, H, Vukonich 7 (Young,Weisbrod) 19:54. Penalties--H, Sneddon (roughing)7:31; V, LeClair (roughing) 7:31; V, Miller(interference) 10:25; H, Malgrave (roughing)14:15; H, Barringer (roughing) 14:15; V, LeClair(roughing) 14:15; V, Benoit (roughing) 14:15.
Overtime--11, V, Mike McLaughlin 5(Love, Fernholz) 1:32. Penalties--None.
Saves--H, Allain Roy 2-9-12-1--24; V,Mike Millham 12-10-9-0--31.
Power Plays--H, 1-3; V, 2-3.
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