4TH AND GOAL WITH THE BAM
I remember back in 1979 when we first got cable. It was the greatest thing ever. ESPN would show college hockey. It was my first exposure to championship schools like Bowling Green, Rensselaer and Lake Superior St. I had to use an encyclopedia back then to find where these championship teams were actually located.
Then, in 1993, it was our turn! No encyclopedia required.
Maine was playing for the National Championship. We were 41-1-2. No way we could lose . Way too good. I settled in for a night of celebrating. 28 seconds into the game and boom! Maine was on it's way. Then a 2-0 lead in the first. Man, where was the Staples button when you needed it!
Then the 2nd period happened. All the momentum was clearly against Maine. I was basically slumped down on my couch at this point. How could this be happening? It felt like we needed a miracle.
I was wrong. We didn't need a miracle, we just needed the greatest Black Bear of all time to rescue us. Jim Montgomery didn't disappoint. He took it on his back and would not be denied. When it got to 4-3 I was sitting, no longer slumped down. Then, 4-4. I wasn't even sitting anymore. Standing. Jumping. pacing. There was no doubt the next goal scored was going to be the winner. Game set match.
Then it happened. The goal heard round the world, well, definitely heard round most of Ellsworth. 5-4 Maine. It was going to be a championship for Maine. Just kill off the rest of the time. The clock hit 0:00 and the euphoria in my living room cannot be described, nor could it be contained. The celebration spilled onto the street out in front of my house. It was loud, it was out of control and I didn't care. It was late on a Saturday night and nobody was sleeping on that street anymore.
All those great teams on ESPN from 1979 to that very moment. It was finally Maine. The greatest team in history had finished the job.
I remember having to be on duty at the Air National Guard the next morning. A lot of tired faces. Hockey talk ruled the day. I had planned to go to the airport to join in the celebration upon the teams arrival, but when I discovered that you basically had to park in Veazie and walk the rest of the way, I decided to just head for home and hope to see it on the news.
There are moments in our country's history that you don't forget. You know where you were when something happened. I'll never forget that Saturday night in 1993 and I'll never forget the 42-1-2 journey it took to become the greatest championship team of all time.
Like DiMaggio's 56 game hit streak and UCLA winning 10 straight basketball championships and whatever ridiculous winning streak that the UConn women have set the bar at, nobody will ever be better than 42-1-2. Nobody.