The 10 Greatest College Hockey Goals of All Time
The 2011-2012 college hockey season is underway, and the first four weeks were filled with some remarkable upsets and memorable goals.
Whether it was Minnesota’s Nick Bjugstad's amazing goal against the defending national champion UMD Bulldogs or Michigan Tech’s controversial overtime goal to shock the Wisconsin Badgers, the first four weeks have been unforgettable.
I took this opportunity to take a look back at some of the greatest goals in college hockey.
Here is my list of the 10 best college hockey goals of all time.
Mike Prendergast, Goal in 1993 against Maine
Sure this game wasn’t in the NCAA tournament, but this goal will remain as one of the most memorable to both Maine and Boston University fans.
In the 1992-93 season, the Maine Black Bears took college hockey by storm.
Maine had future NHL star Paul Kariya. The Black Bears skated to an unbelievable 42-1-2 record. On February 19, 1993, after an overtime goal by Mike Prendergast, the Terriers handed rival Maine their only loss of the season.
While Maine would go on to win the national championship, I am sure somewhere in Milwaukee there was a BU fan chanting 42 and one.
No. 10: Northern Michigan 1991 National Championship Game-Winning Goal
During the better part of a decade (mid 80s-mid 90s), the small hockey program at Northern Michigan University was one of college hockey’s most elite.
The 1991 national championship game featured this small university from Marquette, Michigan against a star-studded Boston University team that included future NHL stars Tony Amonte, Keith Tkachuk and Shawn McEachern.
This game for the NCAA title was a roller coaster with varying swings of momentum. At various points in the game, both teams surrendered three-goal leads.
However, it was Northern Michigan that came out on top. In the 1991 national championship game, it took three overtimes for the Wildcats to capture their first title.
At 1:57 of the third overtime, Darryl Plandowski scored the game-winning goal, after an amazing centering pass from Mark Beaufait, giving Northern Michigan its first and only national title.
No. 9: Holy Cross Upset Goal
If you hate the Minnesota Gophers hockey team, this is probably one of your favorite moments ever. Some rival fans still wear Holy Cross shirts and jerseys whenever they play the Gophers.
For Gopher fans, this loss still hurts. The Gophers, a powerhouse in college hockey, came into the game as the top seed in the West Regional of the NCAA Tournament.
That didn’t seem to faze Holy Cross.
At about 53 seconds into overtime, Tyler McGregor beat Minnesota goaltender Kellen Briggs, pulling off one of the biggest upsets in college hockey history and giving Holy Cross its first NCAA playoff win.
For the Gophers, playing at Ralph Engelstad Arena (home of hated rival North Dakota), didn’t help much.
With this goal, Holy Cross pulled of an upset that will not forgotten.
No. 8: Neal Broten's 1979 National Championship Game-Winning Goal
Winning a national championship is always a big deal. Winning a national championship against your rival makes it even better.
This diving, game-winning goal by Neal Broten during the 1979 national championship game in Detroit will be enshrined in the hearts and minds of Gopher hockey fans for ages. Minnesota would go on to beat North Dakota 4-3 to capture its third national championship.
The 1979 Minnesota national championship team was coached by the legendary Herb Brooks and included 8 members of the 1980 U.S. “Miracle on Ice” team, which Brooks also coached.
Broten would go on to become the first-ever winner of the Hobey Baker award in 1981.
No. 7: Nathan Gerbe Penalty Shot Goal
Before scoring spin-o-rama goals for the Buffalo Sabres, Nathan Gerbe was scoring spin-o-rama goals at Boston College.
This amazing goal came on a rare penalty shot during the second round of the Hockey East Tournament in 2008 against Providence. The Eagles would go on to win the game 5-1.
Gerbe scored 122 points in his three seasons at Boston College.
No. 6: Jack Skille Overtime Goal
At 8:37 of the third overtime, Jack Skille beat Cornell goaltender David McKee, sending the hometown crowd in Green Bay into a frenzy.
Skille’s goal ended the longest scoreless game in NCAA Tournament history.
The goal by the Verona, Wisconsin native sent the Badgers to the NCAA Frozen Four for the first time since 1992.
The Badgers would go on to win the 2006 national championship in front of yet another hometown crowd in Milwaukee, beating Boston College 2-1.
No. 5: Kyle Okposo Goal
This goal came in a regular season matchup against the Minnesota State University-Mankato Mavericks back in 2006.
Yes, it didn’t come during the NCAA Tournament, against a rival or in overtime, but it was still one of the most amazing goals scored in college hockey.
About halfway into the first period, Ryan Stoa made a great pass to Kyle Okposo and he did the rest. Okposo raced to the net and with his stick between his legs, poked the puck into the net to beat the Maverick goaltender Mike Zacharias.
Okposo is currently playing in the NHL with the New York Islanders.
Ironically, Okposo, a forward for the Minnesota Gophers when he scored this goal, scored another between-the-legs goal in the NHL as an Islander against the Minnesota Wild in March of 2011.
No. 4: UMD-Princeton NCAA Tournament Game-Tying Goal
During a 2009 NCAA West Regional game, the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs pulled off an amazing comeback with this goal.
Some fans refer to it as the “Miracle at Mariucci.”
Down 4-3 with less than a second remaining (0.08 seconds to be exact), Evan Oberg scored one of the biggest and most miraculous goals in the school’s history. The Bulldogs would go on to win the game 5-4 in overtime.
Unfortunately, the magic didn’t last for long as the Bulldogs would fall the next night to Miami (Ohio).
A couple of years later, Kyle Schmidt would score another big goal. This goal was in overtime to win the national championship.
No. 3: Nick Bonino 2009 NCAA Championship Game-Tying Goal
This game will go down as one of the most exciting national championship games in college hockey history.
Down 3-1, Boston University rallied with two unanswered goals in the final minute of the game.
The best of those goals was the game-tying goal by Nick Bonino with 17 seconds remaining in the game. Start watching the above video link at about eight minutes to see the goal.
I commend Miami head coach Enrico Blasi for how calm he looks as Miami’s title hopes came crashing down.
No. 2: Blake Wheeler Game-Winning Goal
Before Blake Wheeler was scoring goals in the NHL, he was a college hockey star at the University of Minnesota.
One of his most memorable goals came against rival North Dakota in overtime of the 2007 WCHA Final Five championship game, in front of a WCHA record crowd of 19,463 at the Xcel Center in St. Paul, Minnesota.
In the first five minutes of overtime, Wheeler raced down the ice to stop a long pass by teammate Jay Barriball from icing, dove and batted the puck past North Dakota goaltender Jean-Philippe Lamoureux. The goal earned him the 2007 WCHA Final Five MVP.
It was so popular that it even gained nationwide attention. Wheeler’s diving goal made ESPN’s Top 10 plays that Saturday.
No. 1: Mike Legg's Goal
This one still hurts for Minnesota Gopher hockey fans. Regardless, it is the best college hockey goal of all time.
In the second period of the 1996 NCCA West Regional game, Minnesota was completely dominating the Wolverines. In the first period, Minnesota outshot Michigan 13-3 and was up by a score of 2-1. To make matters worse, Michigan also faced a hostile crowd at Munn Ice Arena, which is the home of their bitter rival Michigan State.
At 7:06 of the second period, Legg would turn the tide for Michigan and make college hockey history. From behind the net, Legg picked up the puck on the blade of his stick and made a remarkable lacrosse-style move. He tucked it in the top corner over Minnesota goaltender Steve DeBus’s right shoulder, tying the game 2-2. The Wolverines went on to win the game 4-3.
Mike Legg’s goal was shown on major news outlets such as CNN and ESPN. It was so popular that it even earned an ESPY award.
The 1995-96 Michigan Wolverines would go on to win the national championship that year, defeating Colorado College 3-2.