While many classmates spent the weekend reading cases cross-legged on the Spangler lawn, the HBS Blades stormed the confines of Bright Arena, won the McArthur Cup, and capped the best season in MBA hockey history with a dominating 21-1-2 record.
The Blades entered the tourney wearing a target for the seven other competing schools. The team worked all season to build a reputation for having the best uniforms in the B-school hockey league. And might also be known for running the show after away games in the host team’s campus bars and running up the score (witness: co-captain Syl Apps (OH) rifling a slapshot for goal number 13 vs. Notre Dame while the goalie pleaded “Come on, man!”).
Thursday night, Babson took their first shot at the Blades. Babson arrived with a strategy to shadow Ben Mandell (OA) around the ice. Mandell had single-handedly outscored Babson earlier this season, and he had reportedly infuriated Babson by trying to give back several of his goals saying “They weren’t pretty enough – I don’t want them.”
But this time, with Mandell in check, Babson delivered the Blades’ first loss of the season, 4-3. The post-game locker room looked like an RC section responding to a tough TOM question, as the Blades remained silent, heads bowed.
Co-captain Tom Casarella (OF), who missed the McArthur Cup to sunbathe in Anguilla, consoled the team saying, “Sorry about the loss boys. But, hey, did you know lemon juice really brings out the natural highlights in your hair?”
The team also missed Mark Narain (OA), who skipped McArthur for some sort of business-plan competition. “Hey, Mark, if you think that stuff is more important than hockey, why don’t you just go to business school?”
The team bounced back Friday night, beating Wharton, 4-2, before an estimated crowd of 200 classmates and Bill Frank’s (OC) parents. Eager to impress, Frank started the scoring with two goals, then risked life and limb to block two shots.
Meanwhile, John Williams (NG), Brad Charron (NG), and Geordie Hyland (ND) brought their section-mates and their A-games to the rink. Charron stopped several breakaways, and Hyland scored almost at will. Despite tailgating before and during the game, Williams dominated on defense.
On Saturday morning, the Blades faced off against Suffolk, needing a win to advance to the semi-finals. Angus McOuat (OH) allowed just one goal, and Apps, Hyland, and Dan Svoboda (OJ) led the HBS offense en route to an 11-1 win. These three stars led as all- tournament scorers and vied all weekend for the imaginary McArthur MVP trophy, which, if it existed, would be crystal.
On Saturday night, the Blades sacrificed missing all two HBS parties for a semi-final showdown against Duke. The Blue Devils brought a talented team, and despite stellar defense from Dave Winslow (OA) and consistent offensive pressure from Ilya Brovin (OF) and Mark Fox (OH), Duke clung to a 3-2 lead in the final minute. Staring down defeat, Svoboda delivered a masterful motivational speech (in Czech), then skated by his confused teammates and the hapless Dookies to score the tying goal.
With just seconds left, the refs, bitter because they were not invited to the game’s after-party, penalized Hyland for “roughing/being too big.” While he sat in the penalty box blaming himself for “all that darn growing,” Hyland could only hope for a chance at redemption. After Brovin and Fox held off Duke’s power play, Hyland exited the box and wove through the defense to score a thrilling OT game-winning goal.
Sunday’s championship game pitted HBS against Wharton once again. The Blades seemed destined for victory after Mandell, who appeared during the course of the tournament to have aged to over-the-hill status, scored on a perfect one-timer. Both HBS goalies delivered strong performances, and Tamin Pechet (NA) fell twice and received one black eye, but generally stayed out of the way enough to let Apps, Svoboda, and Hyland carry the Blades to a 5-1 win.
Asked to comment on leading the most successful MBA hockey team ever, co-captains Apps and Casarella, busy updating their resumes to include the McArthur Cup win, emailed that they believed the team and their legacies would be in good hands next year with Charron, Hyland, Pechet and Williams.