Back in 1997, 10 goals meant something. The 10th score was the perfect capper to a spectacular night. The difference between eight goals and nine goals was insignificant, but 10 started a frenzy that could only happen in Yost Ice Arena.
Because back in 1997, 10 goals meant pizza.
But the year is now 2011, and 10 goals for the Michigan hockey team is just business as usual. No pizza, no extra promotion, no nothing.
“It’s just another number to us,” said senior forward Luke Glendening. “It’s a game we won and we’ve got to play again next weekend. We don’t have 10 goals to start off the next game.”
Besides being a party pooper, Glendening also contributed his first career hat trick. But if this was 1997, the most important goal would have been the one that came from senior forward David Wohlberg, who slipped in the 10th and final goal of the night for the Wolverines.
A few fans at Yost chanted for pizza, but the significance was lost on most of those in attendance. Most fans left with a grin, because after all, Michigan (4-0) did narrowly escape the grasps of St. Lawrence (0-3), 10-3, on Thursday night.
But some fans struggled with the notion of what could have been.
You see, things were different back in 1997. Bill Clinton was elected President for a second term, Dolly the sheep became the first successful clone, and Microsoft chose to invest in a struggling computer company called Apple to keep it afloat. Funny how things work out.
Also in 1997, there was free pizza. Back in the day, Cottage Inn sponsored a 10-goal promotion, where every member in attendance received a free slice of pie if the team reached 10 goals. Sounds awesome, right?
It was awesome all right — for everyone but Cottage Inn. Even though 1997 was the last straw, the restaurant still had issues with the promotion in previous years. The blame game can start with a man they called ‘Doughboy.’
In the early 1990s, when the Wolverines would put up seven or eight goals, the crowd would start to chant, “Pizza! Pizza! Pizza!” It seemed that Michigan had a player who liked pizza as much as the fans did, as he would seemingly pick up his play whenever the total got close to 10. Hence, Cam Stewart became ‘Doughboy.’
“We had a player, (Stewart), who seemed to really answer the bell,” said Michigan coach Red Berenson. “He was always scoring that ninth or 10th goal.”
But the 1997 team was a completely different animal. Everyone could score.
That team was sandwiched by two national championships, one in 1996 and one in 1998. To say the 1997 Wolverines had talent would be like saying Michigan hockey fans like pizza.
Michigan had seven — seven! — players score more than 20 goals. For comparisons sake, the leading scorer on last year’s national finalist team finished with 18 goals. Yeah, the 1997 crew could score.
So to the chagrin of Michigan fans everywhere, Cottage Inn decided to stop the promotion after the 1997 season. Probably good for business, but not good for Michigan fans.
“We could have put the pizza place out of business in those days,” Berenson said. “This just doesn’t happen very often anymore.”
The glory days are over, and now 10 goals is just another number. The times have changed, particularly because Thursday was the first night Michigan scored 10 goals since in the 2008 season.
Someone should get a petition going. The best way to celebrate a 10-goal game should be with a delicious slice of Cottage Inn’s best. No matter what the year is.