Never in my life have I been so proud of a team.
After the triumphs and tribulations of this season, we were eliminated in the semi-finals of the small school tournament yesterday. . . and the loss stings. Two years in a row now, we have concluded our season on home ice in the playoffs, and while I get another chance to skate next year, there was something special about this group of players—this band of brothers.
After going down by four goals in the first period of our quarterfinal matchup against Tilton, a comeback seemed nearly impossible. Yet by the end of the second period, we’d cut their lead to two, and when the final buzzer rang out, the scoreboard smiled down upon the Groton crowd. We won that game 6-4 last Wednesday, and as my jubilant teammates climbed over the plexiglass, they were absorbed by the crowd. I tried to get over the wall too, but I just didn’t jump high enough haha (check out the picture below, I’m in between #24 and #21).
As soon as I walked through the door, however, screaming friends, fans, alumni, and teachers mobbed me. It was so fantastic that had Gabe ’20 not poured water down my back five minutes afterward, I would have passed out in the locker room. Every skater on our team was both emotionally and physically fatigued, but striding into the room, Coach Riley brought us back to our feet by yelling his signature catchphrase, “How ’bout them Zebras!”
That playoff victory was our 22nd win, and it capped off the most successful hockey season in Groton School history. While we couldn’t find the same success against Pomfret, the team still exhibited incredible character in defeat. Last night, we said goodbye to our rink and to each other. Never have I played on a harder-working team. Never will I miss a group of guys more.
To the seniors: Eamon, Kevin, Henry, Gabe, Marc, and Luke
Thank you for everything. I love you all.