While the Patriots came up short in the Super Bowl, the Celtics fell to the Heat in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals and the Bruins suffered a Game 7 playoff defeat of their own, there are some other games that New Englanders will remember more fondly.
For instance, the Patriots’ AFC Championship victory to get to Super Bowl XLVI came in dramatic fashion. The Ravens forced the Patriots, who were leading 23-20, to punt the ball away with 1:44 left in the game. Quarterback Joe Flacco then effectively marched the Ravens down the field, although two huge pass deflections by Sterling Moore, including a big play to break up a pass intended for tight end Dennis Pitta on third down, helped keep Baltimore out of the end zone.
The play everyone will forever remember, though, came on fourth down. Billy Cundiff had a chance to kick a 32-yard field goal to tie the game, but he missed the chip shot wide left, sending the Pats to the Super Bowl for the fifth time in the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era.
The Celtics also gave us a memorable game in their conference championship. With the series tied 2-2, the Celtics prevailed in Game 5 in Miami. Kevin Garnett recorded 26 points and 11 rebounds as the C’s scooped up the 94-90 win, which gave the Celtics a 3-2 edge as they headed back to Boston.
The big moment in that game, though, came when Paul Pierce dropped in a 3-pointer over LeBron James with 53 seconds left. In fact, Boston had fallen behind by 13 in the second quarter and by nine in the third quarter, before finishing the game on a 22-12 run. The Heat would eventually take the series, but that Game 5 victory — at least temporarily — gave Celtics fans hope.
The Bruins faced a tough task during the 2011-12 season. They went from being the hunters to being the hunted after hoisting Lord Stanley the season before. And while the postseason didn’t exactly go smoothly for the Bruins, with the Washington Capitals proving to be a worthy adversary, Boston’s division-clinching victory over the Rangers was still a memorable night.
Dennis Seidenberg and Patrice Bergeron each netted second-period goals, and Tim Thomas held off a relentless barrage by the Rangers as the Bruins won 2-1 on April 1 at Madison Square Garden. The game further showed that these two teams could be beasts of the East for years to come.
The Red Sox — unlike the B’s, C’s and Pats — didn’t have an opportunity to enjoy any postseason success, as 2012 was a dismal year. But while the Sox stumbled out of the gate and finished the season 69-93, there was at least a glimmer of hope for one night during the summer.
Cody Ross, who became a fan favorite during his one year with the Red Sox, cranked a three-run shot into the Boston night against the White Sox on July 19. The walk-off blast in the bottom of the ninth marked Ross’ second three-run homer in two nights, and it came at a time when the Red Sox were starting the second half on a good note. Unfortunately for Boston, things didn’t continue to go smoothly. However, that one night temporarily gave Red Sox fans a reason to believe, and it was — at the time — dubbed by many to be the night the 2012 Red Sox became “a team.”
Beyond the four professional teams, Boston also has the privilege of being home to some impressive college programs. Boston College and Boston University, for example, comprise college hockey’s most heated rivalry, with the annual Beanpot serving as the stage for some of the teams’ more memorable clashes.
This year was no different, as Boston College once again ousted Boston University in the tournament finals. BC’s Bill Arnold netted an overtime game-winner with just seconds left in the first overtime to give the Eagles their third consecutive title. The goal came after a feisty BU bunch bounced back from two one-goal deficits.