A few days later and Josh Monk was still coming to terms with what happened over the weekend.
“Even today, we had a (team) meeting and I don’t think it has sunk in yet,” he said on Monday.
“We are still on cloud nine.”
“Probably the best feeling of my life,” said Monk, who played his minor hockey with the Langley Minor Hockey Association.
“Definitely the best of my sporting life. It is just unbelievable.”
Monk was referring to helping the Providence College Friars capture the NCAA Frozen Four men’s hockey national championship with a come-from-behind 4-3 victory over the Boston University Terriers.
The Terriers were up 3-2 midway through the third period of Saturday night’s championship final which was played at Boston’s TD Gardens and broadcast across Canada on TSN.
And Boston University was a perfect 19-0-0 when entering the third period with a lead.
But with less than nine minutes remaining, the Friars’ Tom Parisi dumped the puck on net from the neutral zone and Boston University goaltender Matt O’Connor mishandled the puck and it crossed the goal-line to tie the score.
“I didn’t even see it,” admitted Monk. “I was sitting on the bench and all of a sudden I hear the horn go off.
“And obviously with that bounce, it just boosts the confidence so much more.
“We worked hard and deserved a bounce and we just followed that up with a real nice play for the winning goal.”
Two minutes later, Brandon Tanev scored the game-winner in helping Providence College win the hockey championship for the first time in school history.
The victory was a nice late birthday present for Monk, who had turned 23 earlier in the week.
And the championship was made even nicer by the fact Monk’s parents, two brothers, grandmother and girlfriend were in town for the game.
“We have worked together for the last eight months for this. To have your parents there and a whole bunch of people cheering you on was something I will remember for the rest of my life,” he added.
This is Monk’s second season with the Friars after playing with four teams — Salmon Arm, Surrey, Cowichan Valley and West Kelowna — in the BCHL.
He suited up in 11 games as a freshman with three assists but played 32 of his team’s 41 games this past season, registering six assists.
“My freshman year was a bit of a learning year but I was able to sort of learn the way,” he explained.
“And this year, was a really good year for myself and the team as well. I was able to develop and get a chance to contribute and it took off from there.”
Monk described his game as being a defensive defenceman.
The Friars had lost last year in the regional finals and were determined to make it all the way this year.
The team made the 16-team championships as the No. 13 seed and upset No. 4 Miami (Ohio) 7-5 in the opening round and then beat No. 5 Denver 4-1 in the quarter-finals to make the Final Four.
In the semifinals on April 9, they beat No. 8 Omaha 4-1 to book their ticket to the finals against No. 3 Boston University.
The Terriers roster features freshman Jack Eichel, the Hobey Baker Award winner as college hockey’s top player, and the expected No. 2 pick in this June’s NHL Draft, behind Connor McDavid.
So what was it like facing such a phenom?
“It was a challenge, obviously,” Monk said.
“He is a very good player so he is going to get those opportunities and we just had to minimize them.
“Just try and take away as much time and space away from him as we could (and) I think we were able to do a pretty good job of that.”
Eichel, who led the country in scoring with 26 goals and 71 points in 40 games, finished the game with one assist and six shots on goal.
Monk still has few weeks of classes and exams to go, but admitted it might be difficult to focus on academics this week. The school had a rally planned for the team yesterday (Tuesday) and they were scheduled to throw out the first pitch at the Boston Red Sox game on Saturday at Fenway Park.
Monk will return home this summer and train in Langley with Impact Hockey.