The Old Dog is a little preoccupied, so here we are with a column that needs to be written. I thought about diving in to analyze the Hall of Fame game but I didn’t drop the money to watch and I’ve been a little busy with work and family. I’ve also been busy trying to get some new equipment setup for what will become the Chasing MacNaughton Podcast.
Some of you on the USCHO fan forums or our Discord group chat may have heard me inquiring about interest in a podcast because my time isn’t infinite and I wanted to know if this was worth that time. Thanks to a generous donation from a long time reader, “Doc McResin,” I decided to take the plunge and order the equipment earlier this month. Randomly, the day I ordered was the 16th anniversary of the game that made me a Tech fan for life.
October 18, 2003 changed the course of many things. It was my senior year as an engineering student and I had only been to a handful of games in the first four years in Houghton. That night changed my life and in many ways changed things for Michigan Tech Hockey. I’ll let my old friend, Bethlyn McCallum tell you what happened between Michigan Tech and their arch rivals, Northern Michigan, in the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena:
The game was started off the right way, with a Chris Conner (Colin Murphy, John Scott) goal coming at 5:46 of the first. The lead didn’t last long though, as NMU struck back less than 3 minutes later.Bethlyn McCallum, Michigan Tech Hockey Blog, June 2, 2007
In the second period, Tech scored twice with goals from Brandon Schwartz and Colin Murphy to make the score 3-1. The Huskies thought they were sitting comfortably with a two goal lead; however, NMU wasn’t done yet. In fact, they were only getting started. Those pesky Wildcats scored 5 more unanswered goals, 4 of those coming in the 3rd period with the last one at 15:22. Unfortunately, when NMU’s 6th goal came around with less than 5 minutes left in regulation, many of the Tech fans decided that there were more important things to do than perhaps witness one of the greatest comeback games ever played in the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena. Not only did fans leave after NMU’s 6th goal, but this awful, horrible, ugly and fat Wildcat fan took off his shirt and started waving it around. Maybe that was actually why the Tech fans left. Who knows.
This night isn’t looking good for the Huskies, who were desperately seeking revenge for the previous night’s game. Four and a half minutes is plenty of time to stage a comeback though, right?
Nick Anderson, with a little help from Jon Pittis, got things moving in the right direction with his goal at 17:55. Two goals to go to force OT… just over 2 minutes left. I looked at my friend with eyes that said, “…well… maybe it can happen…” And although he was happy about the goal we just got, he doubtfully shook his head no. For some reason, I wanted to keep the hope.
18:34 of the third: score one for Colin Murphy, his second of the game. One more goal to go. One minute and twenty six seconds left to do this. Coach Russell thought it would be a good time to call a timeout here to make up a play to push this one into overtime.
Play started back up, and as soon as it was okay to do so, goaltender Cam Ellsworth rushed to the team bench and a sixth skater scurried to the ice. Time was ticking down, but the Huskies kept on throwing shot after shot on NMU netminder Craig Kowalski. With just 28 seconds remaining, alternate captain Colin Murphy completes his hat trick and ties up the game.
What a great feeling that was! In response to NMU’s fat, ugly guy who earlier removed his shirt, Michigan Tech had a fatter, hairier guy remove his shirt and start swinging it around. It was disgusting, but it was absolutely sweet.
Going into overtime, MTU held a 44-31 SOG advantage over NMU, with 18 of those coming in the 3rd period.
With the bonus hockey beginning, there was no other option for Michigan Tech other than to win this game. They had come too far to make it a tie or a loss.
And sure enough, at 2:58 in, Colin Murphy, with a little help from Jon Pittis, put the game away for Michigan Tech.
That “fatter, hairier guy” Bethlyn mentioned above was me, and on places like the previously mentioned USCHO message boards, I’ve been known at “Shirtless Guy” ever since. I even have a handful of jerseys bearing that name. That began a long journey for me, from starting Mitch’s Misfits, co-founding Tech Hockey Guide and now the Chasing MacNaughton Podcast. We do need your support to make this endeavor work. Despite the investment of “Doc McResin” the equipment still required my own money and the time requirements aren’t insignificant.
If you want to hear us talk regularly, follow @ChasingMacPod on twitter, we’ll be letting you know when we’re recording (likely Sunday or Monday nights). Check out our Patreon page to support the production of all of this work, and please take the time to let us know what missing from your MTU hockey experience? We’re hoping to get guest interviews, like maybe writers covering the upcoming opponent or opposing coaches. In the off-season, I hope to do discussions when topics demand it but also turn more into an interview show where we get to talk to guys from MTU hockey past, present and future.