Berklee puts Lions on ice

by Beacon Staff • October 10, 2007

No, it wasn't a Bruins pre-season game; it was the Emerson Lions facing off against the Berklee Ice Cats in the second annual Boylston Cup.,Banners and chests advertised profane messages directed at the challengers and fans screamed through the protective glass as hundreds packed the stands.

No, it wasn't a Bruins pre-season game; it was the Emerson Lions facing off against the Berklee Ice Cats in the second annual Boylston Cup.

Clad in purple and gold, Emersonians bore signs demanding Berklee "Get off the ice and go back to band camp."

The two rivals played it out in front of their loyal fans at Boston University's Walter Brown Arena, with Berklee coming out on top 5-2.

Senior captain and defenseman Matt Porter said the competition between the two schools was nerve-wracking for both the team and the fans.

"When we're on the ice, we want to beat them possibly more than any other team," said Porter, a journalism major. "From the fan standpoint, it's a spirited rivalry and fierce."

The Ice Cats pulled ahead early, scoring their first goal only a minute and a half into the first period. Berklee set a dominating tone that lasted throughout the contest.

The remaining thirteen and a half minutes of the first period went scoreless. The Lions came alive in the second period, but the Ice Cats fought back strongly. Emerson senior forward and assistant captain Elie Smolkin tied the game up in the beginning of the period, but Berklee refused to let Emerson celebrate for long, scoring two more points in less than four minutes after Smolkin's goal which brough the score to 3-1.

The rivalry got more heated as a Berklee player punched an Emerson player after a whistle. Emerson was awarded with three minutes of power play.

"The referee was stepping in as he got a shot off on one of our guys," Porter said.

The Lions were unable to capitalize on the opportunity, and at the end of the period, Berklee remained ahead.

The third and final period played like a game of table tennis, with both teams playing strong on offense.

Berklee scored five minutes in, but Smolkin answered with a goal of his own. Just a minute later, Berklee took control again, scoring the last goal of the game for a final of 5-2.

Smolkin said the loss may have been due to a lack of intensity and focus for the Lions.

"The team played well but I feel that none of us played with a sense of urgency," said Smolkin. "I don't think we wanted it as much as we should have. Everyone played hard and everyone is skilled, but we just didn't have our hearts all the way into it."

The night's excitement wasn't just on the ice. The stands resonated with the sounds of Emerson hockey fans chanting "Let's Go Lions" in unison.

Sophomore forward and film major Pete Keeling estimated about 700 people came to see the game, close to double the showing of last year's Boylston Cup.

"The fan turnout was amazing," Keeling said. "It gets you excited to play when you come out of that tunnel and all you hear is people screaming."

Keeling and Porter both hoped the fans wouldn't be discouraged by the loss and would continue to support the team in future games.

"I'm a little disappointed that we didn't play up to our capability in front of all those fans," Porter said. "We have the best fans in the league."

"Unfortunately we just couldn't put the win up for the fans," Keeling said. "We are hoping they will be back to cheer us on for the rest of our season."

Porter still has faith that the Lions will prove themselves soon enough, after they get a few more games under their belt.

"Our defense needs some work," he said. "This was only our second time playing together as a team in a game situation, so we didn't really flow like we are capable of."

Sophomore film major Nick Zalucki, who came to the game with his face painted purple and gold, said the team didn't seem prepared for the challenge at hand.

"Other than one or two scrimmages this was really the team's first game," the film major said. "I just don't think the team was ready."

Fortunately, the Boylston Cup isn't Emerson's only shot at Berklee this season, as they face the Ice Cats again at home in a payback match on Nov. 3.

"Hopefully, when we face them during the regular season we can pull off a win," Zalucki said.