It's that time of year again. A time for heroes.
We have frequently asked in early March whose turn it is to step up. Whose turn will it be to seize the pen and forcefully write their name in the history books? Heroes are bred and crafted in the regular season, but it is in March when they are born.
The last time RPI and Dartmouth met at Houston Field House in the playoffs, the oldest players currently skating for the Engineers were 10 years old. On March 11, 2000, it was Pete Gardiner and Carson Butterwick who stood to be counted, and whose exploits in that contest still live on today. Down 2-1 late in Game 2, it was Gardiner who scored with 6 seconds left to send the game to overtime, and it was Butterwick who put the game and series clincher past Nick Boucher 10:37 into the extra frame.
Two years later in Lake Placid, as the Engineers faced defeat in the play-in game with less than 3 minutes remaining, quick strikes from Matt Murley and Scott Basiuk allowed the Engineers to advance in regulation over the Big Green.
In 2008, it was a coming out party for Allen York, the freshman understudy who took the reins and made RPI his team for the playoffs and the next two seasons, leading RPI to an away sweep with 58 saves. And to further prove that anyone can become a hero, the overtime winner in Game 1 was scored by Christian Morissette, the only goal he would score in his short tenure with the Engineers.
And even while the men of RPI strive to add their name to the list of heroes, warriors from the other side seek similar glories. In 2001 in Hanover, Boucher redeemed himself from Gardiner's last second stab wound with 31 saves in the final 40 minutes in Game 1, going one shot short of a shutout in Game 2 to give the Big Green a home series sweep.
In 2004, it was Eric Przepiorka scoring on Dartmouth's first shot of the 3rd period that provided the only scoring in a 1-0 Game 3 victory, the only shot out of a combined 68 that night that found the net in a pitched goaltending battle between Dan Yacey and Nathan Marsters. In fact, Yacey had stopped 75 consecutive shots by the Engineers from the 2nd period of Game 1 on to deny the Engineers a trip to Albany in their first opportunity.
These are the names of those who, in the recent playoff history between RPI and Dartmouth, made that step forward and put their name down in the history books.
There's only one question left.
Who's next? Step forward, men of Troy.