Hockey Continues Win Streak With Tough Springfield VictoryBy Jason Weintraub
In what can be arguably claimed the most dramatic win in MIT hockey history, the varsity team picked up its twelfth straight win of the season with a 5-4 victory over Springfield College on Saturday afternoon.
Springfield actually took a page out of MIT's book when they managed to poke in a loose puck in the opening minute of play. MIT found themselves in the rare position of trailing early, usually reserved for their opponents.
However, the Engineers were quick to respond. John Rae '99, picked up his first goal of the afternoon less than a minute later, tying the score at 1. With each team adding another soon after, the game would be knotted at 2 for most of the first period.
With under two minutes left in the period. Rae and Jim Goodman G teamed up to give the engineers the lead. Rae came up the ice on the right side and passed it over to Goodman on the left. Goodman, instead of trying to squeeze the shot through the small opening on the goalie's left side, slid the puck back across to Rae who slipped it into the wide open net. It was a perfect example of the unselfish style of play that has helped the team to an undefeated record.
It seemed that the Engineers would take the one goal lead to the lockerroom. However, with only 19 seconds left in the period, Springfield once again found the puck loose in the front of the MIT net and managed to put it in.
The second period would see only a single goal coming from the stick of a Springfield defenseman, giving them the lead going into the final period.
End of an undefeated season?
With Springfield leading 4-3, the predominately MIT crowd could not help but wonder if they were witnessing the abrupt end to the undefeated season.
It's tough to say why this Springfield College team, a team MIT had beaten 9-1 earlier in the season, was giving the Engineers so much trouble. Captain Jon Shingles '96 offers his opinion:"We figured we had Springfield beat before they even stepped off the bus. That is one of the problems with our team. Our success has bred an overconfidence which if not kept in check might result in a loss of our undefeated streak."
Despite the deficit in score, MIT did in fact control most of the play in the third period, often keeping the puck in the offensive zone and the pressure on. The tying tally just would not come. The puck did in fact manage to find the Springfield net on several occasions, but each time the referee had blown the goal off, claiming that the net was dislodged or that the whistle had sounded.
Finally, MIT's perseverance paid off. With 5:17 left on the clock, Shingles found Rae in front of the net, and the latter easily beat the Springfield goalie for the equalizer, not to mention the hat trick. It was this goal that not only revitalized the team but the MIT fans as well. The Engineers obviously had the momentum and adrenaline needed for the game winner.
However, just as quickly as the momentum was gained it was lost. Shingles would take an ill-timed penalty leaving MIT shorthanded for the next two minutes. MIT was in a little bit of a fix -- they needed to play conservative to kill the power play, yet also keep in mind that the clock was ticking down on them.
The Engineers did manage to kill the penalty and soon after went on the attack once again. The break they needed would come with only 1:13 left in the game. The same Springfield defenseman who had put his team ahead got called for a bad interference penalty, putting MIT on the power play.
With both the crowd and players fired up, it was clear that MIT had the edge. However, almost directly after the face off, Springfield slapped the puck down the ice, forcing MIT to retrieve it and quieting the crowd just a little. With MIT gaining the zone with less than thirty seconds left on the clock, everyone knew that this would be their last chance. When Springfield cleared the puck with about 15 seconds on the clock, you could almost hear the disappointment.
But MIT had not given up. Defenseman Steve Schlueter '96 stopped the puck at the red line and quickly passed it up to Matt Yurkewych '98. Yurkewych slipped it across to Tetsu Inada '97 who wound up and fired it high over the goalie's shoulder into the upper corner. The clock read only 0:04.
The Engineers will take their still unblemished 12-0 record on the road today against Salve Regina University and to Daniel Webster College on Saturday. The next home game will be February 10 against Central Connecticut State University.