BU's Comeback Ranks High Among Many Contenders
by Adam Wodon/Managing Editor
WASHINGTON, D.C. It was hard to find words to describe this one. Jack Parker has been coaching 36 years and seen a lot of games. But this one left he, and all the observers, searching for the ways to describe what they just saw.
In a postseason filled with these kinds of things, it kept getting harder and harder to find more adjectives. What's in the thesaurus next to miracle?
And with Miami having BU on the ropes with a minute remaining, this couldn't possibly happen again, right? But it did.
"Amazing" ... "Unreal" ... "Holy bleeping cow" ... "Have you ever seen anything like it? No." ... These were some of the things heard around the Verizon Wireless Center in Washington after BU's stunning 4-3 comeback win in the NCAA championship game.
And in Parker's mind, it surpassed anything else he'd ever seen.
"Wow. What a hockey game. What a finish. The finish made it an unbelievable game, obviously," Parker said. "And all I can think of is that it's the greatest game comeback I've been involved in, the greatest comeback I've been involved in. When we lost the '91 championship (to Northern Michigan) after being down by three goals, we came back, tied it up late in the third period, I mean real late, and went into triple overtime before we finally lost the game.
"I was thinking about that tonight. Because we spent so much emotion those last couple minutes when we pulled the goalie and got the goals, but the team was so jacked up when we went into the dressing room. I didn't want to leave it all there."
There have been so many memorable games over the years, games that every year leave you shaking your head, left to soak in the wonderful-ness of what college hockey is. There was Justin Abdelkader's goal in the closing seconds in 2007, giving Michigan State the title over Boston College. There was BC hitting a post as time expired in 2006, as Wisconsin held on for the championship. In 2004, there was the greatest last two minutes of any game you'll see, when Denver killed a 6-on-3 and hung on for a title. In 2002, Minnesota tied it in the closing seconds in front of a raucous hometown crowd in St. Paul, then won on a power-play goal in OT.
There were OT wins by Michigan in 1996 and 1998, by Maine in 1999. There was North Dakota tying a game in 2001 on two late goals, the last coming on a power play after coach Dean Blais called for a stick check on Boston College. BC went on to win in overtime anyway.
There was Lake State over Maine in 1994; there was Wisconsin over Colgate in 1990; there was the controversial ending to Lake State's win over St. Lawrence in Lake Placid in 1988; the four-overtime game that gave Bowling Green the title over Duluth in 1984.
Even 1978, Parker's first championship, his Terriers defeated the defending champ Wisconsin Badgers, a star-studded team with most everyone returning from the year before, including future NHL stars Mike Eaves and Mark Johnson.
And on and on you go.
But then there was this one. When Jack Parker pulled his goalie with three minutes left, and then got two extra attacker goals in the final minute of regulation. What are the odds?
"It might've happened, I just don't remember it," Parker said. "I'm 64 years old, my memory is gone."
When it was over, Parker said he thought of one other thing.
"I thought of Bernie Carbo's three-run homer, and Carlton Fisk," Parker said, referring to the memorable Game 6 of the 1975 World Series, when the Red Sox tied it and won in extra innings. The Sox did lose, however, in Game 7.
"That was my favorite year of all-time in Red Sox history."
And now, as much as the city of Boston has seen over the years — Havlicek stealing the ball, Sox 3-0 comeback vs. the Yankees, Belichick and Brady, Bobby Orr — this will rank right there in the pantheon.