Posted by: Feldman
Before we get to today's Rivalry Recaps, thanks for all the feedback I've received so far. I've heard so many stories from people about their memories of the JM-Mayo rivalry, that I'm now convinced I could write a book about it. There's no way I'll be able to get them all into print. So, you know, if any of you can convince the big bosses at the P-B that I need to devote a few months to writing a book on the topic, feel free to try. ;)
When I'm done with the project, I'll try to post more of those stories, as well as comments from people I've interviewed, that didn't get into the print edition.
Today we hit games 51-60 in the rivalry, spanning February, 1990, through February, 1994. Today's recaps start with Mayo's biggest win in the 102-game rivalry. They also include a JM player bouncing back from two broken legs, a Section 1 semifinal matchup, and a former Mayo player coaching for JM.
GAME 51 / Feb. 3, 1990 / Mayo 10, JM 2
Mayo has power surge
JM dominated this rivalry for the first 50 games, but this is the game that many former Spartans believe flipped the momentum in Mayo's favor. Mayo had won just 13 of the first 50 matchups against JM, and seven of those 13 wins came by two goals or less. Mayo broke out in a big way, scoring 10 goals, the second-most ever by one team in a JM-Mayo game. Jeff Schmidt (3 goals, 3 assists) and Charlie Conn (3 goals, 2 assists) led the way for Mayo, which snapped a six-game losing streak in the series. The score was tied 2-2 after one, but Mayo scored five goals in the second period. Schmidt's entire hat trick came in the second period, as he pulled it off in a span of 3 minutes, 50 seconds. Schmidt had to go to the hospital after the game to have his thumb stitched. He gashed it after his third goal. "I lost my glove and rubbed it against the boards," he said. "It's a battle scar. It'll help me remember this even more." Mayo outshot JM, 32-25.
GAME 52 / Dec. 13, 1990 / Mayo 3, JM 1
DeBus plays well through pain
Three days prior to this game, Mayo goalie Steve DeBus broke the ring finger on his left hand. The day before the game, he cut the pinkie finger on his left hand on a skate blade. He wasn't bothered by either injury, though, stopping 25 of the 26 shots he faced to lift Mayo to the victory. Chad Schneider had two goals and an assist to lead the Spartans offense. DeBus held his ground through some early penalty kills, too, at one point stopping four consecutive booming slapshots by JM defenseman Steve Sabo. Matt Swanson made 26 saves for the Rockets.
GAME 53 / Jan.. 12, 1991 / Mayo 4, JM 3
A historic comeback for Mayo
JM controlled this matchup through two periods, building a 3-0 lead after 30 minutes of play. However, Mayo awoke between the second and third periods and staged one of the more remarkable comebacks in the history of the rivalry. The Spartans scored three goals in the first 8:02 of the third period to force overtime. Then, just 56 seconds into OT, Matt Hiley's second goal of the game gave Mayo a 4-3 victory and set off a wild celebration for the players in green and gold. As important, the victory gave Mayo its first sweep of a season series against JM in 16 years. It also marked just the fourth OT game between the rivals. Andy Klingsporn and Chad Schneider also scored for Mayo. Jeremy Gunderson, Bobby Lorch and Brock Peterson scored for JM. The Rockets outshot Mayo, 30-22, but Mayo had the only shot of OT.
GAME 54 / Dec. 12, 1991 / JM 3, Mayo 2
JM's Alexander bounces back
JM senior Simon Alexander spent his junior season sidelined with two broken legs suffered in a car accident. In this game, he became a hero. Alexander scored two power-play goals, indluding the game winning goal at 5:32 of the third. Mayo did its part to come back, outshooting JM 23-17 in the game and 11-1 in the third period. The Rockets' victory snapped Mayo's three-game winning streak in the series. Brian Bornhorst scored JM's first goal, for a 1-0 lead at 5:19 of the first. Chad Schneider notched both of Mayo's goals, his second coming with just 4 seconds to go in the game.
GAME 55 / Jan. 25, 1992 / Mayo 8, JM 5
Smith sparks Spartans
In another of the great individual performances in the history of the rivalry, Mayo's Mark Smith had a six-point game, with four goals and two assists. Two of Smith's goals were empty-netters, coming in the closing minute, to turn a one-goal game into a three-goal game. This was as exciting as a JM-Mayo game comes. Four times in the first period, JM went up by a goal. Four times, Mayo answered. The tide turned on two key plays in the final 24 seconds of second period. With 24 seconds to go, JM captain Josh Klingfus came in on a short-handed, 1-on-0 breakaway. Mayo goalie Brian Nelson stopped his wrist shot attempt from the left circle, then stopped the rebound opportunity. Seconds later, Smith took a pass from Jason Rush, zipped into the JM zone and put a wrister past Rockets goalie Dan Kingsley with just one second left, for a 6-4 lead. JM pulled within 6-5 in the third, but Smith's pair of empty-net goals iced the win for Mayo.
GAME 56 / Feb. 29, 1992 / Mayo 3, JM 1
Spartans get emotional playoff victory
Mayo appeared to be the favorite entering this Section 1AA semifinal playoff game, but the Rockets made the Spartans earn their berth in the section title game. Mayo didn't close out the victory until 45 seconds remained, on an empty-net goal by Mark Smith. Smith also scored the game winner, on a tip-in, early in the third period. JM went up 1-0 at 4:37 of the second, when Simon Alexander scored on a rebound. Chad Schneider also scored for Mayo, which received 25 saves from freshman goalie Brian Nelson. "Nellie played out of his head," Mayo coach Lorne Grosso told the P-B following the game.
GAME 57 / Jan. 7, 1993 / JM 1, Mayo 0
Kingsley stifles Spartans
Mayo's Mike Rippentrop slammed a shot toward JM goalie Dan Kingsley in the waning seconds of the third period, desperately attempting to tie the score and force overtime. Kingsley swatted it aside, as he did 25 other times during the game, earning a rare shutout victory in this rivalry. After the save, Rippentrop skated past Kingsley and tapped him on the pads, acknowledging the great save. "Kingsley played out of his mind," Rippentrop told the P-B afterward. "That was the most fun I've ever had in a hockey game, even if we did lose." JM's Brian Ek scored the game's only goal, at 6:16 of the first period.
GAME 58 / Feb. 6, 1993 / JM 3, Mayo 2
JM wins in final minute
JM senior defenseman Marc Majerus delivered in the clutch, scoring with 41 seconds left to snap a 2-2 tie and lift the Rockets to their second consecutive win against Mayo. JM led 2-0 after one on goals by Peter Cullen and Robert Redford. Majerus' game winner came on a shot from the point that hit a skate and deflected past Mayo goalie Brian Nelson. Mayo tied it 2-2 after two on goals by Mike Rippentrop and Todd Vessey. Mayo had a great chance to take a 3-2 lead in the third, when the Rockets' Brian Ek was whistled for a double-minor for roughing, but the Spartans couldn't capitalize on the power-play opportunity.
GAME 59 / Jan. 6, 1994 / Mayo 4, JM 1
Truax shines in goal for Spartans
In JM coach Bruce Frutiger's first game against his alma mater, Mayo goalie Kevin Truax stole the spotlight with a tremendous 27-save performance. Mayo players referred to Truax as "Tretiak," the famous Soviet goalie. The Spartans scored twice in the final 1:14 of the second period to snap a 1-1 tie and back up Truax's effort. Tony Grosso scored twice for the Spartans, while Mike Rippentrop and Brandon Wieck scored once each. Brian Lawler score four minutes into the game for the Rockets' lone goal.
GAME 60 / Feb. 5, 1994 / Mayo 3, JM 2 22-39
A "special" win for Mayo
Mayo scored all of its goals with a player in the penalty box, including one goal with one of its own players in the box. The Spartans scored two power play goals and one short-handed goal in the victory. Nick Tietjen and Brian Schell scored in the first period for a 2-0 Mayo lead. Tietjen's goal came on a power play, while Schell's goal came at the end of a short-handed 2-on-1 break, when he converted a feed from Brandon Wieck. Darrell Link pulled JM within 2-1 in the second, but Mike Rippentrop answered for Mayo. Brian Ek pulled JM within 3-2 at 9:40 of the second, then the goalies took over. In the third, Mayo's Kevin Truax was out of position for a moment, but recovered just in time to rob Link, who briefly had a wide open net to shoot at. JM goalie Greg Naumenko then stopped Shawn Leimbek on a breakaway, then stopped him again on the rebound to keep the Rockets within a goal.
Through 60 games
• JM leads 38-20-2
• JM has outscored Mayo, 228-159