As anti-climatic as this may be, it's still warranted - the Hawks' hockey team, once again, had a great season and has nothing of which to be ashamed. As bad as last night's loss to the Mount may hurt right now, eventually our guys will come to see just how well they played all season.
Obviously, however, that's not much solace in the here and now. Our guys went through this season with only a single loss until the second game of the state final series against the Mounties, a record that included winning the Mounties' own Christmas tournament in addition to sweeping them during the regular schedule.
In the world of common sense, this makes no sense. Except to say, of course, that the Mounties played an exceptional series and carry that intangible of determined pride rooted in the tradition of their program. They really, really don't like to lose.
Not only did this 'tragic reversal of fortune' manifest itself in the Hawks' dropping two games in a row all season - to a team to which that they hadn't yet lost - but the title series itself played out in the most ironic of twists possibly imaginable. In game 1, the Mounties had positioned themselves to take the win, leading 2-1 with about ten minutes to play; in the final four minutes of the game, however, the Hawks exploded for four goals and won going away, 5-2. Consequently, fans were wondering whether the Mount could recover from such a shocking turn of events.
The answer seemed to have played itself out when the Hawks largely controlled game 2, leading 3-1 about midway into the third period and seemingly well on their way to the state title.
It was at that point that the game, and, for all intents and purposes, the series and the entire season turned on a dime. The Mount found a way to tie the game and then the series with the winning goal in sudden-death overtime. Now, the question was whether the Hawks could find it in themselves to respond to the shocking turn of events.
While the Hawks no doubt toughed out the entire third game, the Mounties seriously dented the Hawks' hopes by getting out to an early 2-0 lead on their way to, in the end, a complete reversal of fortune - the Mounties won going away, 5-2, which was the result of game 1, only in the Hawks' favor.
The Providence Journal's slideshow from the game can be seen HERE.
There's no doubt that our hockey program is now on par with the Mount's, which is no small consideration (though certainly not a consolation), especially given the years when we simply could not beat them. We've won three titles since 2006; it seemed, however, that we were primed for number four this year.
The takeaway from this bitter pill is a simple one - the Mount will never be an easy out, no matter the record or the circumstances.