We knew Cross Country was going to win. We knew basketball was going to sit atop the conference. What we did not foresee was senior captain Alec Pupshis hoisting up the championship plaque in the middle of a sea of celebrating students.
The Hockey team defied any and all expectations thrust upon them in the biggest way possible. I talked to senior Jay Davis back in December and asked him about his expectations for the upcoming season. I was unsure how competitive the IceGaels would be, and when Jay replied to me with, “We are definitely better than last year, and I expect to see us in the championship game.” Now we know Jay was spot on, as they not only appeared in the championship, but upset the #1 seed to take home the title.
Meanwhile, the game itself was as good as it gets and suspenseful up until the very end. Our notorious student section showed out in a big way, undeterred $8 dollar admission fee, and the energy matched the team’s effort on the ice the entire game. It did not take long for the Calvert Hall Cardinals to take a lead. They had a man alone with the goalie, and took advantage of it, scoring early in the first period. This goal tested the spirits of the students, but they did not let up, and neither did the guys on the ice. Towards the end of the first period, the puck got loose near Calvert Hall’s goal, and in the effort to possess the puck, a man pile of skaters formed, providing a perfect distraction for St. Joe to score (I don’t think anybody had any idea what happened when that goal went in). All I remember from that moment was the silence of students waiting for something, anything to happen. It was not until the referee’s whistle blew, and a couple St. Joe players threw their arms into the air did the crowd erupt into cheering and a very poorly coordinated yelling version of the beginning of Chelsea Dagger.
After an action packed first period, I expected more of the same through the next. However that was not the case. The goalies and their defenders took over for both teams. Personally, I have never been to a hockey game before, but the numerous saves the goalies had on both sides left me stunned. The defense would carry through the rest of game, as the third period ended with the score still tied at one-to-one.
Gaels win the game!!!! 2-1 in overtime. MIAA CHAMPIONS!!!!! pic.twitter.com/nB4vfqm9Q5
— MSJ Student Section (@MSJStudents) February 11, 2017
As the overtime period started, the crowd was electric in an unprecedented way. It took only two minutes for the Gaels to score the final goal of the game. While the crowd was loud before, when the puck crossed the goal line, it erupted even louder than I could have imagined. I was standing in the third row of the stands. It took about five seconds of people pushing and shoving for me to be pushed up against the glass in the middle of a tidal wave of people yelling.
The Tier-1 Ice Hockey team gets to take home the MIAA plaque, taking part in possibly the best season of athletics we have seen in years. We have seen Indoor Track win, Wrestling win, Ice Hockey win, and also Basketball win the MIAA Championship. It surely has been a spectacular season for St. Joe athletics!