As the snow poured onto the streets of Boston Friday, February 7th, the HBS Blades traveled to Dartmouth to compete in the 22nd Annual Tuck MBA Hockey Tournament. The tournament featured ten entrants on the Men’s side; Concordia, Chicago, Ivey, Duke, Harvard, Kellogg, Michigan, MIT Sloan, Tuck and Wharton and five entrants on the Women’s side; Cornell, Harvard, Michigan, Yale and Tuck.
The HBS Men defended their title in an exhausting series of four games in 26 hours. The HBS Women overcame great odds to land in the tournament championship where they were defeated by Michigan. Both Harvard teams left their mark in New Hampshire with superior performances, victorious beer pong matches and ear piercing relentless cheering for each other from the stands.
HBS Men on Top Again
As the tournament favorites, all eyes were on HBS Men’s team and, needless to say, they didn’t disappoint their fans (i.e. the Women’s team).
The first game was against Ivey, the Winner of the Canada Cup for the past 19 years. The 8 am start didn’t deter HBS spirits, as John “Knuckleball” Gibbons (NI) started off the scoring with a bouncing shot that caught the goalie off guard and slipped in for a goal. That spark served to open up the flood gates, as our boys started pouring in goals left and right. Chris “Dipsy Doo” McIsaac (OJ) showed off his namesake with a pair of slick goals and Eric “The Enforcer” Lohrer (ND) had a threesome of assists, which was a good omen for the weekend’s social activities. The score ended 8-2, with additional goals scored by Kirk “Hands” Nielsen (NB).
The second game, just three hours later, was against Harvard’s arch-rivals from across the river, MIT. The game was tied at zero for the first period, but then in the second period, HBS snuck two goals by their goalie, who asked to go by the name “Awesome”, but proved not to be.
The highlight of the game was the play of HBS’ man between the posts, Ben “Bad Boy” Heller (Partner). After some witty banter back and forth, the referee asked Heller if he was HBS’ only goalie and, knowing he was, suggested that he keep his “neighborly comments” to himself. Following this sound advice, HBS walked a way with a tight 2-1 victory.
HBS was now on to the semi-final against Kellogg, to be broadcasted live that evening as NESN’s primetime game. The brand new professional hockey rink didn’t intimidate HBS, as the Blades got off to an early scoring spree and were up 5-0 after just eight minutes of play, with strong skating by Tomas “Wax Laces” Persson (NG). In a courageous act of bravery, Dan “Hmongus Amongus” Gertsacov (NJ) decided it was time to sideline their best player, Jacques Poon, a French-born journeyman who previously played in the Mongolian minor leagues, with a bone-crunching hit. Not to be out-gooned, Eric “the Enforcer” Lohrer showed the team how he earned his moniker, with a left jab to the head of a Kellogg player who had taken a cheap shot at fellow teammate, Brett “Watch the Flota” Rota (NG). Lohrer was ejected for a technicality in the rule book: “Violent Play Violation from a Neutral Country.” HBS held on to win 8-3.
HBS rested that evening back at the clubhouse with some leisurely ping pong activities and was fresh the next morning to square off against Duke in the Championship final. The game got off to a slow start, as both teams sized each other up. Then, taking advantage of a Nielsen penalty, Duke scored 3 quick goals in 1:30 minutes to take a commanding lead all the way into the third period. With their backs against the walls, the HBS Men came back in style to tie it up in the third, with Mika “Catch Me if You Can” Malin’s (OG) puck wizardry and Ken “10 Second Wonder” Graham’s (OA) fancy footwork to redirect a shot for a goal. Gibbons tied the game up with only a few ticks on the clock left, blasting a shot in from the point that was clocked at over 90 mph.
Overtime was going to be necessary to settle this nail-biter. The OT turned out to be a little chippy on both sides, providing Gertsacov the opportunity to chat with some Duke players to settle once and for all the correct pronunciation of the school name, Fuqua. With no score in the Overtime period, they were on to the shoot-out, one of the most high-pressured moments in all of sports. HBS was in good hands with our former Boston Bruin, Nielsen, who easily sneaked his penalty shot by their hapless goaltender. Duke’s standout player, a former Professional player himself, couldn’t wave the same magic, as Heller easily stopped the breakaway and HBS took home the come-from-behind victory and the tourney championship.
Overall, the team turned in a gutsy performance throughout the tournament, with additional stellar offensive play provided by Dave “Ellingard” Ellingrud (OD), Mark “Marty” Mactavish (OC) and defensive stalwart, Brett “Leg-slide” Merritt (OH).
Lady Blades Cinderella Story
Handicapped by the weather, the Lady Blades faced their opponents without any of their star players (ie, people who played hockey in college) and a squad only 12 person strong. Captain Kelli McKechnie (OE) gave an inspirational speech before the second games stating “This will be a victory for the little people who couldn’t even stand up on their skates in October.” The chicks with sticks took their first match against Cornell’s Frozen Assets 1-0 after Amanda Key (OA) scored her triumphant first goal ever assisted by McKechnie. Nicola Longfield (OE) and Steph Hannon (NJ) took advantage of their height on skates to intimidate the elbow-throwing brutes on Cornell nicknamed Rock Star and Hoosier Daddy.
The Lady Blades faced Yale in their second match where Hadley Abernathy reached a personal goal of getting thrown in the penalty box for roughing. Luckily Hadley’s target was called on the play too so thankfully the Blades were not a woman down. Though the teams were evenly matched, Yale’s star defender let loose a mean wrist shot from the point which scored their only goal. Beth Stott and Jen Daily (NF) skated circles around the Yale defense but were not able to score.
Thanks to not losing by 11 point likes some of the 25 person strong teams did, HBS found out at 12:15 am that they would advance to the finals to face the darlings of the tournament, Michigan, the only team to travel in by plane. After pounding a few last beers the team retired to the Chieftain Motor Inn to rest up for the match.
The Lady Blades lost the championship match 4-0 but performed at a personal best level against the Michigan squad filled with former college stars. Superior performances by goalie Chari Ruane and the defense squad of Menkes, McKechnie, Camille Kubie (NA) and Pam Kocher kept the Michigan offense at bay. On offense, Grace Park stood out as a fight-to-the-death, stick-between-the-legs attacker who never gave up on the puck. The team is most proud of the fact that there was not a single offsides call during the match. The Lady Blades were enthusiastically coached by fashion maven Andrew Right (OB) and last-minute hero Ken Grahame (OA). The off ice highlights for the team included attending a frat party and being asked for ID, eating every meal at EBA, fish hook dancing and choosing Chumbawumba “Tubthumping” for their new theme song (I get knocked down, but I get up again…).