1975-76 A Dynasty is Born

The 1975-76 season was a season of changes: The Bi-State Intercollegiate Hockey League merged with the Metropolitan Intercollegiate Hockey League and became known as the Bi-State Metropolitan Hockey Conference. Jim Barrow stepped down as Ramapo’s Head Coach to assume the responsibilities of General Manager. Assistant Coach Art Chill was appointed Head Coach, and former defenseman Pete Cameron was appointed Assistant Coach.

The League was divided into two divisions. Ramapo was in Division II along with Wagner, Fordham, FDU, and St. Francis. Former Met League teams, Brooklyn College, Iona College, and City College of New York (CCNY) joined CCM and Nassau Community College (NCC) to round out Division I.

Ramapo defended its League championship with a veteran squad. Fifteen players returned from the previous year’s championship team. In the season opener, the Roadrunners annihilated New Jersey State College rival William Paterson College, 18-0. Ramapo’s next game was an exhibition game against the New York Police Department. The Roadrunners beat the hard-hitting NYPD Blue, 8-4.

After a 6-6 tie with Rockland Community College, the Roadrunners put together a five-game winning streak. The streak started with a 5-0 whitewashing of FDU. The next victim was St. John’s University. Ramapo easily defeated the Redmen 9-2. The Roadrunners outscored their next two opponents 34-6: They trounced New Jersey State College rival Kean College, 13-0; NCC, 15-4; and Rutgers University, 6-2. The winning streak ended with a 4-4 tie with cross-county foe FDU.

The tie with FDU didn’t slow Ramapo down. In fact it got the team mad enough to win an unprecedented fifteen consecutive games, starting with a 5-0 shutout of Fordham University. In the next game, FDU once again proved to be a tough opponent, but Ramapo held on to defeat the Knights 5-3. The scoring rampage continued with a 14-2 thrashing of St. Francis. After 9-3 and 4-2 victories over Brooklyn and Fordham respectively, the Roadrunners played in the Ice World Invitational Holiday Tournament in Totowa, New Jersey. Ramapo easily defeated LaSalle University 12-3 and Temple University 10-0 to capture the tournament trophy.

Before resuming its regular schedule, Ramapo played another exhibition game -this time against a tough Detroit Police Department team, who were scheduled to play the NYPD squad the following day. The game, arranged by Barrow’s younger brother (a member of the Detroit squad) went to Ramapo at 6-3.

The winning streak was now at seven. In the next three games opponents were outscored 46-3 and outshot 180-58 (Wagner 11-0, St. Francis 17-1 and 18-2). The average goals for the three games were 15.3-1.0 and shots on goal were 60.0-19.3.

The winning streak rose to ten. Of the ten games, the Roadrunners scored in double figures in the last five games of the streak, 68-6 (13.6-1.2). They out­shot their opponents 310-87 (62.0-17.4). The streak seemed in jeopardy when Ramapo faced powerful Iona, but the Roadrunners defeated Iona College 5-1 for their only victory ever over the Gaels. Game twelve saw Ramapo easily defeat CCM 8-1, the team they defeated in the championship finals the year before. The explosive offense got back into gear in games thirteen and fourteen. They blew out Wagner 13-4 and shut out Fordham 11-0. The final victory of the streak was a hard-fought 6-5 battle against CCNY. The winning streak ended with a 3-3 tie against independent opponent Rutgers. The tie was the third of the season but kept the unbeaten streak alive at 24 (21-0-3).

The next opponent was Wagner. Rather than face the Roadrunners for a third time that season, the Sea Hawks forfeited the game. In the two previous meetings, Ramapo had dominated Wagner, 11-0 and 13-4. In the final two games of the regular season, Ramapo defeated FDU, 9-5 and independent opponent Quinnipiac College, 7-2. The Roadrunners ended the regular season 24-0-3. Their record in the Division II of the BSMHC was a perfect 17-0-0. They outscored their League opponents 155-33 (9.1-1.9). Their closest rival in the Division II was Wagner, who finished a distant second at 7-8-2. Division I winner Brooklyn College (11-1-5) finished just two points ahead of lona (10-2-5).

In the quarter-final round of the League playoffs, Ramapo opened at home against CCNY. The Beavers carried a 4-2 lead until midway through the second period when the Roadrunners exploded for six unanswered goals. Ramapo tied the score at four by the end of the period and scored four goals in the final period to skate off with an 8-4 come-from­ behind victory.

Before resuming the series with CCNY, Ramapo scheduled an independent game with the Midshipmen of the United States Naval Academy. More than 2,100 screaming Ramapo fans packed the newly built Ice World Arena in Totowa, N.J. to watch the Roadrunners take on the prestigious Academy. Like Ramapo, Navy was a club team trying to make a name for itself. Coming off a 4-2 victory over Rutgers, Navy sported an 8-4 record. Little did the Middies realize what lay in store for them. Ramapo College President, Dr. George Potter dropped the ceremonial puck. The teams played cautiously for the first four minutes. Then Ramapo broke out – scoring two goals within twenty-three seconds. Navy never recovered. The Roadrunners led 5-0 after one period and 7-0 after two. With two minutes gone in the third period, Navy broke the shutout on a breakaway. Ramapo’s bombardment continued with three more goals. The high-flying Roadrunners sank the unsuspecting Midshipmen 10-1. This was the birth of a great rivalry in the seasons to come.

Two days after the independent Navy game, the League playoffs continued at CCNY’s home rink in Riverdale, N.Y. The Beavers tied the game at 2 in the second period to send the game into sudden death overtime. A fluke CCNY shot from the right point deflected off a Ramapo player into the Ramapo net with 1:44 left in the first overtime period to even the series at one game each. The loss ended Ramapo’s unprecedented thirty-three game unbeaten streak. Ramapo’s record was now 26-1-3. The Roadrunners gained revenge two days later by eliminating the Beavers at home, 7-2, setting the stage for Ramapo’s second trip to the League championship finals in as many years. Leading 4-0 after two periods, CCNY scored first in the third period. The Roadrunners clinched the victory midway through the final period when they took advantage of a major Beaver penalty by scoring three times in a ninety-five-second barrage.

Ramapo’s opponent in the best-of-three finals was Brooklyn College. The teams had met earlier in the season with Ramapo winning 9-3. Brooklyn (14-3-6) won the Division I title with an 11-1-5 record and ousted Wagner, 2-0 to gain the final. In the opener in Brooklyn, the Kingsmen jumped off to a 3-2 lead after one period but Ramapo tied the game at 3, scoring with just 18 seconds left in the second period. Momentum shifted to the Roadrunners. At the 3:50 mark of the third, Ramapo scored the first of four unanswered goals to give the Roadrunners a well-earned 7-3 victory. Ramapo could wrap up the title with a win at home at Sport-0-Rama in Monsey, N.Y. As they had done in game one, Brooklyn played a tough game. The score was tied 2-2 after the opening period. Ramapo dominated the second period, outscoring the Kingsmen 5-1. With a commanding 7-3 lead going into the final stanza, Ramapo held off a feisty Brooklyn team to win 8-5 and skated away with their second straight League championship.

Back at campus after the game, a bonfire was built in front of buildings seven and eight, in celebration of the championship. As the blaze burned brightly, the Mahwah Fire Department arrived on the scene. Despite requests by College officials, they would not extinguish the fire, because it was surrounded by the large turnout of fans, who wanted to celebrate the win with their heroes.

The League recognized Ramapo players with post­season awards: Harry Maynes and Chuck Podgurski were voted to the First All-Conference Team, Tommy Moriarty and goalie Bob Paglia were voted to the Second All-Conference Team, and Chuck Podgurski was voted the MVP of the playoffs.

Players and fans were treated to thrills and excitement that would live on in the memories of those who had the privilege to be part of this phenomenal year. Very rarely does a team ever dominate opponents the way Ramapo did in this season. The “Super Team,” as it became known accumulated unprecedented numbers that would never be duplicated or surpassed: