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Quarterfinal Game 1 - Northwood’s Greatest Teams since 1971

Quarterfinal Game 1 

Northwood’s Greatest Teams since 1971

1984  (28-2-1)  vs 1988  (28-2)


What a tournament opener! Two Tom Fleming coached teams with a combined record of 56-4-1. The 1984 team lost early to Brown, tied Clarkson, ended the season with a loss to an excellent team from Montreal, but won its 28 other games, including five straight victories at the Capitol District Tournament at Union and RPI, the premier tournament for preps in the 1980s. The 1988 team lost two games: one when a few guys had to sit for disciplinary reasons against Yale and the other in the Capitol District finals, a 6-5 overtime loss to Compuware. In that game, there were roughly two dozen D1 players competing. I remember Charlie Morrison, the Union coach, tapping me on the shoulder and announcing that this was the best hockey ever played in Achilles Rink. 

1983 marked the beginning of Tom Fleming’s 21 years as a head coach at Northwood. He interviewed in the spring of that year when Glenn Thomaris resigned to take a college coaching job. Tom had had a great career at Acton-Boxboro High in Massachusetts, turning out superstars like Tom Borrasso and Allen Bourbeau. In the interview, I mentioned that while he coached great top-end talent at A-B, he would be stunned at the depth we had. He nodded politely, but I knew that he thought I was clueless. After that fall’s tryouts, he admitted I was right. We were five lines deep with good NCAA prospects. That year’s roster had players attending Harvard, Lowell, Maine, Clarkson, UNH, Merrimack, Yale, Notre Dame, West Point, Western Michigan, Connecticut, Middlebury, and RIT, (goalie Chet Hallice is in that school’s Hockey Hall of Fame). At least a dozen played DI hockey; a few were captains.

By the time the ’87-’88 squad was ready to suit up, Flem had compiled a 105-13-5 record over his first four years. That squad didn’t do his won-lost percentage any damage, finishing 28-2. By then, we had a few more underclassmen competing. The team included two stars who had made the squad during their freshmen years: Brett Kurtz and Kent Salfi; both wound up being significant factors on national championship college teams, Wisconsin and Maine, respectively. Other DI commits included Clarkson, 3 UNHs, SLU, Vermont, 2 Lowells, 2 Ill.-Chicago, and Northeastern. DIII commits included RIT, Babson, Williams; current Associate Head John Spear was the Williams recruit; he wound up being captain of both hockey and lacrosse there.  My projection for the game: a lot of firepower for both squads suggests a reasonably high-scoring encounter-over 60 shots combined. Scotty Morrow, Kurtzy, Salf, Haysy, and Gatti all score for ’88, but ’84 nets six -Armstrong, MacGregor, Kick, Drevitch all scoring once while Steve Williams gets two, including the overtime winner. Hallice comes up with some great saves under heavy pressure to grab the win. Both teams exhibit more than their share of talent and grit.

Next Week: 2016 vs. 1994.