METCALF’S THE MAINE MAN
By Steve Gandour
What makes a feature film a classic? It takes several things; good characters, a convincing story line, tests of inner strength and perseverence, that special something that draws the crowd into the world of the story, and leaves them with a feeling of contentment. However, it also requires a little something left unfinished to make you want for more. For Peter Metcalf and the Maine Black Bears, this season belongs with the classics.
The season started in September, with the tragic passing of Maine Black Bears head coach Shawn Walsh. “It was tragic,” Peter recalls. “Coach Walsh had his imprint all over our team this year… and his death was so hard to accept. The effects were enormous and felt throughout the school and especially throughout our team.”
A tragedy like that could be demoralizing enough to give a team reason to falter. The loss of your coach… who had designed the plays, trained and lead the team for years easily could have made for a hard transition to the new coach and former assistant. But as Captain, Peter new what the team was made of… and knew what they could do.
“It was really difficult at first to focus. But we wanted to honour the Coach’s memory. It brought us so close and helped to motivate us all year through. It is the amazing part of Coach Walsh. In a season where he died before it could start, he left his hand print on this organization, and though he was not with us physically, that hand was there guiding us throughout the year. We never could have accomplished what we did this season without him.”
What they did accomplish was not only to honour their coach by playing for him every night… but they took their team to the frozen four in the NCAA tournament with an upset victory. They won the Hockey East Championship Re-Match in a game that had an eerie feeling of deja-vu. Peter was one of only four seniors to be on this years team, and thus on the team in 1999 that faced University of New Hampshire for the National title.
“In ‘99 we were in a very similar situation. We lost Rich (their equipment manager at the time) in a tragic accident, and came together as a team to pull off an upset and make the frozen four. That year we faced UNH for the National crown. It was just like 1999 in so many ways. We were confident we could defeated them again.”
Then they competed in the National Championship match, where a heartbreaking overtime loss to Minnesota ended their attempt at a storybook season.
“We were disappointed sure, but we also were so proud of each other and our team’s effort. We knew we gave it our very best, and we knew both our coaches were proud. A one goal loss is never easy, especially in overtime of the championship match. However just to make that match was a testament to the resolve and heart of every person in the dressing room.
Peter definitely stepped up to show his heart and resolve. He had a career year offensively for the team, but more importantly, was there outspoken leader off the ice. Yet his humility continues to shine through.
“Scoring those two goals in the match against UNH was great, but it was a team effort. No one player was going to win this tournament for us. It took a total team effort and some great coaching by Coach Whitehead.”
Peter also gives the fans a lot of credit for their support, and their respect for the teams efforts.
“The fans were wonderful. They were there for us all year long, they felt the loss of Coach Walsh almost as hard as we did, and were incredibly supportive. It was very touching to hear them honour the seniors at the end of the season.”
Peter celebrated the season’s end with several personal accolades. He was named Hockey East First Team All Star, named to New England Hockey Writers All Star Team, and named All American. His point total was almost as high as the sum of all of his three previous seasons. So where does he go from here?
“I am not really sure what I will do next year. That is mostly up to the Maple Leaf organization. However I know I will go into Leaf camp and give my all come September, like I always try to do.”
We wish you the best of luck here at Hockey’s Future Peter, and congratulations on your teams outstanding season.
Thanks to Peter Metcalf and the staff at the University of Maine for their help in getting this interview.
COAST TO COAST AND ACROSS THE POND
Miguel Delisle (F) – Ottawa 67’s (OHL)
Miguel scored two goals and was named second star as he finally stepped up for Ottawa in a commanding victory over St. Mike’s on Tuesday. The playoff series is tied at two.
Carlo Colaiacovo (D) – Erie Otters (OHL)
Carlo was selected second star as Erie took a 2 – 1 series lead over London. He recorded two assists in the game to bring his playoff numbers to a point a game.
Pierre Hedin (D) – MoDo (SWE)
Pierre was selected to the Swedish squadron for the Karjala Cup and is an almost certainty to make the World Championship Swedish team. Pierre had a brilliant playoff, recording eight goals to set a new defense man record for the MoDo league.
Peter Metcalf (D) – Maine Black Bears (NCAA)
Peter was named All American recently. In addition, Peter was named to the New England
Hockey Writer’s All Star Team.
Markus Seikola (D) – TPS Turku (FIN)
Markus’ season ended very silently. He struggled both offensively and defensively to find his niche, and was not selected by Finland to compete in the World Championships.
Marty Clapton – South Carolina Stingrays (ECHL)
Marty was recalled to the St. John’s Maple Leafs from the Sting Rays for added playoff depth.
Some Quick updates on other Leaf prospects in the Playoffs…
Brad Boyes continues to lead the entire OHL in playoff scoring with 19 points in 8 games.
Kyle Wellwood continues to shine for Windsor, he is second in the OHL in playoff goals scored with 9 goals, and fifth overall with 15 points in 9 games and third in plus minus with a plus 9.
Brendan Bell had one assist in Ottawa’s last game before being ejected for being third man in a fight.
Jonathan Zion had two assists in Ottawa’s dominant win over St. Mike’s on Tuesday.
Thanks to Joeri Loonen for the information on the European prospects.