Saturday, April 09, 2011

Four Random Memories Of Frozen Fours

I wrote this up in honor of tonight's Michigan vs. Minnesota-Duluth title game. Go Bulldogs! And don't worry, none of these involve the University of North Dakota:

1984: Due to my folks moving from Grand Forks to Chicago in March of my freshman year, I moved into Walsh Hall at UND mid-second semester. I had only been there a couple of weeks when on a Saturday night I wandered down to the basement commons area to get a pop from the vending machine. I saw that the Minnesota-Duluth vs. Bowling Green final was on ESPN on the big TV in the little viewing lounge. There was just a few minutes left in the third, so I grabbed a seat and joined the three other guys - complete strangers - there to cheer on UMD's inevitable win. But Bowling Green scored late to tie it up. And then for four overtimes and well into the night we cheered on our WCHA brethren Bulldogs, who eventually lost in the fourth OT.

1988: Maine and Minnesota were favored all season to match up in the title game, I think Sports Illustrated even bothered to cover college hockey midseason for a page or two and declared the matchup all but inevitable. But the Black Bears and Gophers were upset by relative unknowns Lake Superior State and St. Lawrence in the semifinals. An obviously frustrated Maine and Minnesota matched up in the third-place game that ended up being a brawl-filled mess. I didn't see it, but I think the officials may have even called this game early with how nasty it got. The NCAA got wise a year or two later and eliminated the third place game altogether.

1990: I didn't have cable and nobody wanted to watch the game with me, so I walked to the Park Tavern alone and watched Wisconsin dismantle something called Colgate. I foolishly gave up booze for Lent back then and recall drinking near beer in bottles. Ugh.

1991: I was at the Boston University vs. Northern Michigan title game at the St. Paul Civic Center. The game went to three overtimes and after two, some Badger fan out in the concourse yelled to the delight of his buddies: "... And after two overtimes, Wisconsin is still national champion!!"