August 21, 2012
Tue Aug 21, 2012, 12:00 AM EDT
The Division 3 North first round hockey tilt between No. 6 Rockport and No. 11 Latin Academy on February 24, 2010 will always be a night to remember because of it’s unconventional and controversial finish.
With the score tied at 2-2 in overtime Rockport senior captain Pat Hofmann didn’t get good wood on a shot that wobbled towards goalie Ed Meagher, who easily made the stop. But that wasn’t where the play would end as Hofmann never gave up and aggressively drove to the net as Meagher was attempting to cover the puck.
Just as Meagher’s glove was set to reach the puck, which was lying in the crease, Hoffman took a jab it. The puck ended up getting past Meagher and into the back of the net giving the Vikings a 3-2 win. While Hofmann’s Viking teammates mobbed him on the ice Latin Academy protested the lack of a whistle on the play.
So was the puck covered or was it not? That question is still unclear and will probably never be clear. Rockport players and supporters insist that the puck was still fair game and not covered by the goalie while Latin Academy players and fans are sure that Meagher had the puck covered and the whistle should have been blown.
Amidst all the controversy Hofmann had the best answer, and the best mindset.
“I don’t know if he had the puck covered,” Hofmann said after the 2010 classic. “I was just looking to make a play. This is an unbelievable feeling right now.”
Players are taught to play until the whistle in every sport they play from the youth level on, and Hofmann’s willingness to play until the whistle gave Rockport its first state tournament win in over a decade, just the second state tournament win in the program’s history and the most wins in a single season in program history, a mark that was broken this March in the state tournament.
The controversial finish may have taken all of the headlines, but the rest of the game was also riveting. Rockport and Latin Academy, who played twice in the regular season that year, continued their rivalry in the tournament with a back and forth physical game that Rockport head coach Derek Papalegis called “a battle from start to finish.”
Eventual 100 point scorer Cam Smith put the Vikings up 1-0 just three minutes into the contest. Latin Academy, however, got two more goals before the first period was up taking a 2-1 lead into the break.
Hofmann tied the score at 2-2 with 2:26 left in the second, about 10 minutes after a key back check in the defensive zone thwarted a possible Latin Academy odd man rush. Following Hofmann’s defensive play the Vikings controlled the remainder of the game.
In the third period the Vikings spent the whole frame knocking on the door thanks to a newly assembled line of Hoffman, Smith and Brendan Douglass, the teams top three scorers. While Rockport didn’t score in the period they took momentum into overtime and the rest is history.