HBS Blades Capture Tuck MBA Hockey Tournament Championship

How do you know it’s time to head home after an HBS weekend trip? For Craig Lund (NH) and his HBS Blades teammates, it wasn’t the pressure of reading cases or a long drive home from Dartmouth.

When the referee of the championship game at the annual Tuck MBA Hockey Tournament ejected Lund with the helpful suggestion to “take your HBS degree and get the —- out of here!” it was time to hit the road. By the time the Blades captured their second consecutive Tuck MBA Hockey Tournament Championship, they were as welcome in Hanover as grade disclosure in RC sections.

The Blades popularity in Hanover took a Bush-like nosedive on opening Friday, when HBS beat Tuck at two of Dartmouth’s three apparent sources of pride: Hockey and Beer Pong. (The third seems to be a Puritanical toughness, demonstrated by sustained ability to bear cold and isolation. On those measures, unfortunately, Tuck still holds the title.)

Friday night’s game between Tuck and HBS offered a clash of MBA hockey titans. The Blades entered the tournament undefeated in MBA competition. Tuck, like HBS, carries a roster stacked with former Division 1 college players.

Initially, the inebriated, mitten-clad Tuck fans rattled the Blades with pointed, hurtful cheers like “We hate Harvard.” The Blades persevered nonetheless, earning a hard-fought 4-3 victory. Strong defensive efforts by co-captain John Williams (OG) and defenseman Adam Smith (NC) kept the game close. Williams showed true leadership when a teammate noticed he was “minus 2” (that’s bad-it means he was on the ice for two more goals against than goals for). Williams immediately pointed to Smith, his defensive partner, and said “No, we were minus 2.” Win as a team, lose as a team, keep stats as a team, capitan.

After the game, Williams brought his leadership to Tuck’s post-party, where he ruled the pong table. Dartmouth alumnus Andy McElaney (NC) explained the importance of beating Dartmouth at both hockey and pong. “It’s like beating Team USA at basketball and baseball. The whole town will be talking about it.” McElaney, who perfected his ping pong stroke in college, starred for HBS despite suffering slightly from immobility in his boys’ medium T-shirt. If anyone has trouble finding Shad, just ask Mac. He’ll be happy to flex and point you in the right direction.

Saturday, the Blades earned a spot in the championship game by steamrolling Babson and Cornell, thanks largely to the presence of Sharam Fouladgar-Mercer’s parents in the stands. Despite complaining that his mom had tied his skates too tightly, Sharam put on a show for the ‘rents, scoring a hat trick and adding three assists against Babson. (Editor’s note: Statistics may contain bias because Sharam’s parents submitted them, but in this case, we remember the hat trick.)

With the Blades beating Cornell 8-0, the Cornell captain begged the referee to run the clock in the third period. At one point, when every HBS player on the ice had played high-level college hockey, a Cornell player casually mentioned that it was his first hockey tournament. Co-captain Tamin Pechet (OA), who spent the tournament as team coach due to a torn MCL, suggested that the Blades, and especially Smith, use the opportunity to practice winning gracefully. During a blowout win for the Blades earlier in the year, Smith had peeled off of a breakaway, skating the puck to the corner instead of shooting. For those who don’t follow hockey, that’s as patronizing as hitting a homerun but insisting on stopping at second base because you “don’t want to rub it in.”

Saturday night, the Blades resisted the tournament’s planned late-night activities, ice fishing and making snow angels, to rest up in the team hotel. Goalie and team Treasurer Brad Charron (OG) splurged for perhaps New Hampshire’s worst hotel. Charron has accepted a job as a brand manager for Frito Lay, where he will no doubt cut costs to the bone. After a night of tossing and turning on semi-clean sheets, EC forward John Strevel (OI), who noted that “the sheets had to be under a 300 thread count,” felt especially good about his decision to go back to McKinsey full-time.

The rest served the Blades well come Sunday morning’s finale against Tuck. HBS took an early lead on a goal from Geordie Hyland (OD), who dominated much of the tournament. Tuck answered to tie on a fluke goal before Harvard forwards Lund, Sharam, and Hyland took command, leading the Blades offense to a 4-1 lead.

Unfortunately, the game then turned a little “chippy.” Hockey players use that word casually to describe acts that might result in jail time off the ice, such as one Tuck player spearing Strevel with his stick, and another Tuck player viciously slashing Hyland. Antagonizing Hyland is generally a terrible idea. Despite his Paul Bunyon size, Hyland is an avid reader who loves animals and rarely shows aggression. But every man has his limits.

As the chippiness peaked in the third period, one of the game’s referees decided to teach Harvard some humility. Penalties usually even out between teams during a hockey game, and bear some connection to acts committed on the ice. Not this time. With Lund ejected and Harvard shorthanded, Tuck’s most talented players overcame Herculean goaltending by Charron to tie the game at 4-4 and force a shootout to determine the champion.

Pechet, as coach, chose Harvard’s shooters, and made a major contribution to the team by not including himself. Sharam and Hyland each scored on spectacular fakes, giving Harvard a 2-1 shootout advantage. Tuck’s third and final shooter had to score to force another shootout round, but Charron read his fake perfectly, flashed his right pad, and saved the shot to win the tournament for the Blades.

You can catch Blades games most Sunday night’s at 9pm at the Bright Arena on Harvard’s campus, and watch the Blades take their still undefeated MBA record to Harvard’s annual McArthur Cup, April 5-8.

Don’t miss this year’s McArthur Cup MBA Hockey Tournament

April 5-8

Bright Hockey Arena (behind the Harvard football stadium)

See great hockey, support the Blades, and heckle Wharton, Tuck and every other school you probably didn’t get into.