It's the No. 1 fantasy.
In the only sport where pipe dreams have an appropriate setting -- behind three pipes framing 24 square feet of potential immortality.
Scoring the winning goal in a big game, especially late in the third period -- even better in overtime -- has been played out in the world of make-believe since the game's first shift.
For some players, dreams indeed come true on the biggest of stages.
At the 2009 Frozen Four in Washington last weekend, three players -- two are 19; one just turned 20 -- became part of NCAA folklore with their scoring heroics.
Miami's Alden Hirschfeld, a Sylvania, Ohio, native, scored the game-winner in the RedHawks' 4-1 victory against Bemidji State in last Thursday's first semifinal.
Boston University's Colin Wilson
, a Hobey Baker finalist and the first college player taken in last June's Entry Draft (No. 7 by Nashville) out of Winnipeg, sent his Terriers into the championship in BU's dramatic come-from-behind 5-4 win against the Vermont Catamounts in the other semifinal.
To top the weekend off, Colby Cohen
, a Villanova, Penn., native, fulfilled the ultimate fantasy -- scoring in overtime in the championship game against Miami to give BU its fifth national title and first since 1995.
NHL.com went behind the scenes to capture the excitement from each player shortly after each game. Here's the skinny about how their goal was scored, their emotions, and a comment from their coaches.
Semifinal Game 1: Miami over Bemidji State, 4-1
Freshman forward Alden Hirschfeld scored what would be the game winner at 8:35 of the second period, his fifth career goal, assisted by Tommy Wingels and Carter Camper.
"It was a great feeling, obviously, to give the team the 2-0 lead," said Hirschfeld, named "Mr. Hockey Ohio" in 2005-06 after winning the state high school title. "Carter Camper made a nice pass up the middle of the ice to Wingels and I knew I was the guy driving to the net. I didn't know if Tommy was going to try and make a cross-ice pass or drop it back because I could hear Carter yelling for the puck. Wingels made a nice pass across the crease and I basically stretched out for it and got enough to get it to go in.
"It's definitely the biggest goal of my life. I made it to the national championship both years of juniors and scoring in both of those games was pretty big too. But this is so much higher and with so much on the table -- it feels good."
"Alden broke his arm in early September," said coach Rico Blasi. "That put him behind the eight ball. He came back in December and he played some real good games for us and scored some real big goals for us. Then he got kind of tired. All of a sudden in February, he came on again. From that point on, he's been great -- one of our best players."
Semifinal Game 2: Boston University over Vermont 5-4
Sophomore forward Colin Wilson scored the game winner at 14:19 of the third period, his 17th of the season, assisted by Chris Higgins.
"After winning the faceoff, I kind of went back and I didn't see where Chris (Higgins) went with it, but I knew he'd be shooting," said Wilson, an All-American and 2008 Rookie of the Year in Hockey East, about his second goal of the game. "So I just got to the net, and sure enough, the rebound went off my tape and I just put it in. It was a good feeling. This is seen as one of the best BU teams in history. That's an even better feeling. I can't take a smile off my face right now.
"I haven't been to a final game since midgets. Definitely the biggest goal in my life. One time I scored an OT goal way back in midgets. To do it on this big a stage makes it quite a bit better. I won't lie; I did fantasize a little bit about scoring these big goals. When I woke up this morning, my mind was on having a big game. The fact that I might be (turning pro) makes me embrace this a little bit more; take it all in. This could be the last time I'll be wearing a BU jersey. I want to finish up strong."
is on the list (of the players for the best two years in BU hockey)," said legendary BU bench boss Jack Parker. "Guys like Rick Meagher were on that list. And Mike Eruzione was on that list. And Tony Amonte
was second on that list. Jack Garrity Sr. is first. He's 83 years old. And Colin Wilson
is on that list -- in the middle of the pack. I think Colin Wilson
's best hockey is still ahead of him. Unfortunately, it probably won't be here. At times he's been like a man playing with boys. And he showed that a lot tonight. I thought it was one of his best games of the year."
Championship Game: Boston University over Miami, 4-3
Sophomore defenseman Colby Cohen scored the game-winning goal at 11:47 of overtime, his eighth goal of the season, assisted by Kevin Shattenkirk and Chris Connolly.
"Well, for starters," said Cohen about the knuckleball dressed in black that floated across the goal line, "Kevin (Shattenkirk) makes a great play, rolls the blue line just like we've done a lot this year, leaves it for me. I just let it go and I saw it get blocked and go up and over the goalie's glove. I saw it go in and that was it. I don't remember anything after that."
"It's just an unbelievable feeling. Actually, I got a text from someone that will go unnamed. He goes, 'You're going to get the game-winner tonight. I can feel it.' It was a lucky one, but I'll take it. I won a state championship in high school, but it's not even close to tonight. But my high school coach, Ed Ritti, was here tonight. So that's pretty special. My brother was my linemate on that team and he couldn't be here tonight, but a couple of guys from that team were. I don't know what I'm going to do when I see my parents. I'll probably start crying. They're my biggest supporters."
"The reason he got the game-winning goal," said Parker, "is he's a terrific offensive defenseman who can shoot the puck 100 mph. He's a terrific goal scorer for a defenseman all year long. The reason we recruited him, he was a great power-play guy. Not only because he can move the puck and get great plays, but he's got a cannon; as they would say -- a missile. And that's what he brings."