Monday, March 1, 2010

Wildcats White Out the PENmen in OT Thriller

Despite looking like he belongs at the Magic Kingdom signing autographs, this is not one of the Seven Dwarfs. This is in fact, a Penman, the mascot of Southern New Hampshire University. Why they would name their team after a journalist like myself is completely beyond me, but that's a whole 'nother blog. What I do know, however, is that they have a Division II lacrosse team that has literally trounced us every single year and twice on Sundays for the last 4 that I've been involved. One year it was close, but every other time, they basically showed us why they were D2 and we were exactly what every player and coach hates, "Just a club." And to start the game, we were on pace for another one of these embarrassments. With a miscommunication of the starting time, the original field not being plowed, and our flat demeanor, we came out and went down 7-1 to start the game, and it was as ugly as one of Don Cherry's suits.

But, they call it halftime for a reason, and if one team can score seven in a half, there's no reason the other can't do that in the second. The beauty of live sports. We did exactly that, possessing the ball, keeping it simple, and slowly but surely creeping back into the game. A few man-up goals, an unsettled or two, all backboned by sound defense and great goaltending, suddenly their 7-1 half was matched by us starting the second 7-1 and we were in a 9-8 game. We tied it up with just over a minute remaining, and almost closed it out in the final seconds, but of course, a game like this had to be settled in overtime.

They call it sudden-death, but it seemed more like a dragged-out, waterboarded death. 10 minutes of overtime play, and probably 8 saves to boot. Back and forth, SNHU would have a great chance and our goalie would make a great play, feed, and then we were going back. Then we'd dodge, and shoot, and their goalie would literally stand on his head to keep his boys hopes alive. We hit the crossbar. They hit the crossbar. There were literally no fingernails left in the stands. That is, until sophomore Evan Flower, received a pass about twelve yards out and ripped a duck into the side panel, quietly giving himself a gentleman's 6 goals on the day. The bench erupted and stormed the field, debris everywhere, and it was official. The Wildcats just topped SNHU for the first time, and it couldn't have come at a more opportune time. With our two toughest games of the season this week in beautiful Colorado, a win like this can only help. It can boost team morale and create the positive vibe we need, and it reminds us that even if we are already written in for a loss in some people's books, that someone still invented the erasable PEN(men).

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