More Cougars hail from New England than Chicagoland, so the mood among players with a rooting interest in the Stanley Cup Final sided not with the Blackhawks, but the Boston Bruins.
The Blackhawks on Monday erupted for two goals 17 seconds apart in the final 1:16, avoiding a possible Game 7 to win, 3-2, and take the Cup in six games.
“I thought [the Bruins] had it, but they've been struggling playing defense, and the Blackhawks, they deserved it," said infielder Brad Zapenas, a Boston College product and Nashua, N.H., native.
Zapenas watched his boyhood team from the comfort of his host family's residence as the Cougars enjoyed a day off. His girlfriend and her mother were in attendance in Boston, seated three rows from the glass.
Reliever Stephen Perakslis, a native of the Boston suburb of Stoughton, Mass., also was pulling for the B's. That left lefty Michael Heesch – a Prarie Ridge alum whose family now lives in Bartlett – stumping a little harder for the Hawks.
Lefty Sheldon McDonald was on Chicago's side. A native of hockey hotbed Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, McDonald liked the Hawks in part because they share the Western Conference with the Oilers, but also because of favorite Canadian son Jonathan Toews, the Hawks' captain.
"I was happy the Blackhawks pulled that out," McDonald said, "and with that 17 seconds apart, that was pretty special."
– Kevin Druley, email@example.com