It’s 20 minutes since the game ended, and the Badgers aren’t ready to leave the ice. The seniors will stay on as long as they can, to bask in the cheers and delay taking that jersey off for the last time.
Most of the fans have stayed as well, even after the awards ceremony, which saw junior Robbie Earl capture the well-deserved Most Outstanding player.
I chuckled as the NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Committee was introduced. William Bellerose, the Associate Athletic Director at Holy Cross was cheered, as if he had personally engineered the Crusader’s upset win over archrival Minnesota. Not surprisingly, Joel Maturi, the Athletic Director at Minnesota, also a member of the committee, was soundly booed.
In the locker room, Wisconsin senior Ryan MacMurchy sat at his locker, still not wanting to take his sweater off.
“I’ve still got mixed emotions here,” he said. “I don’t want to take my jersey off yet. Four years. It’s been a long road. But hey, we won our last game for the senior guys and that’s all you can ask for. I’m just so proud of everyone in this room and we got it done.”
In the press conferences, both teams presented themselves well and talked about the shot from BC’s Peter Harrold that hit the post in the closing seconds.
“Peter shot it and I got a piece of it and I thought it went in,” said Brian Bolye. “I thought we tied it up but we didn’t and we lost a national championship. It’s not the best feeling in the world right now.”
“At that point, with seven seconds left in the game, you just have to get the puck down to the net, and I threw it toward open ice,” recalled Harrold. “You throw it at the net and hope that something good happens. Maybe you get a tip, maybe the goaltender doesn’t see it and it goes in. Its really all you can hope for at that point.”
“I didn’t hear it (hit the post),” said Wisconsin goaltender Brian Elliott. “I knew there was only a couple seconds left and I knew I had the short side… all they had was the far side. Hopefully if it was any closer I would have got a pad on it. Posts are your best friends and I got one tonight.”
Tom Gilbert got the game winner, on the power play off some nifty puck movement by the Badgers.
“Joe Pavelski made a great pass to me and I just buried my head,” said Gilbert. “I knew the puck was going to go in. I can’t describe how I feel.”
MacMurchy summed it up nicely.
“It’s a storybook ending and a Cinderella story,” he said. “We hadn’t won anything our whole four years. Looking at the schedule, you saw the Green Bay Regional and Milwaukee with the national championship. We wanted to be there so bad. We knew it would be a great sea of red fans. It was everything it lived up to be in our dreams and we got it done with blood, sweat and tears. We’re just a hard-working bunch of guys, competitive guys, and we got it done.”