Call it Mr. Holland's Opus.
There was less than a minute remaining in a tie game, and when most participants and observers were figuring this one was going into overtime, Kentucky made its move.
Two Thoroughblades gained control of the puck at the Bandits' blue line, but they did not have a numerical advantage. They needed a third and Jason Holland was nominated, despite being a defenseman with other responsibilities.
"I saw Ken Belanger had good control of the puck, Steve Guolla had come up and I had to make a decision," said Holland, who ended up scoring his fifth goal with 44 seconds remaining to give the Blades a 5-4 victory over the Bandits.
Holland made the perfect play at the perfect time, giving his team a weekend sweep and handing the Bandits their fifth straight setback.
"Opportunistic" is the way Kentucky coach Jim Wiley described the effort, going into detail about how Holland had to be doubly sure his move up ice wouldn't put his team at a disadvantage, "particularly in the last minute of a game."
"Like anyone else playing in the minor leagues, I'm looking to learn when to make such a move," Holland said.
"I tried to hang back a little and be in position for a pass," Holland said. He was. Guolla's pass was on his stick 25 feet out to Bandits goalie Mike Bales' right. Then the puck was in the net.
"I thought we played better than [Saturday] and we could have lost that game as easy as not," Wiley said. "For a team playing its third game in less than three days, [the Bandits] worked very hard and really had us scrambling."
Kentucky 2 1 2 -- 5
Bandits 2 1 1 -- 4
Pub Date: 12/09/96