1977 Rochester JM Squad

Chris J
Posts: 66
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2002 9:28 am

1977 Rochester JM Squad

Post by Chris J » Tue Mar 05, 2002 8:12 am

Videoscout,<br><br>You are 100% right on the pre-tournament impression that JM made. Our tickets that year were just off to the left of the benches. When JM came out to warm up we were actually laughing at them, because their uniforms and equipment looked like 20 year old hand me downs. My friends and I were pulling for South St. Paul, and after they beat Hill-Murray very convincingly we already had them penciled in for the final.<br><br>Needless to say that started to change by the time JM had won their first game (against MPLS SW I think). And then they beat SSP on Friday night 1-0 and Edina East 4-2 to finish off the "miracle". The one player I remember from that team even more than Butters or the Lecy brothers was a defenseman by the name of Jeff Nelson, I believe. It seemed as though he played at least 30 minutes a game - he was ALWAYS out there. In the third periods of both the SSP and Edina games it was like he NEVER left the ice. Incredible. <p></p><i></i>

Videoscout
Posts: 172
Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2002 12:50 am

Re: 1977 Rochester JM Squad

Post by Videoscout » Tue Mar 05, 2002 9:58 am

Of the 30 + years I've been going to the state tournament, the <!--EZCODE ITALIC START--><i> 1977 Rochester John Marshall</i><!--EZCODE ITALIC END--> team is one I'll never forget.<br><br>They were a <!--EZCODE BOLD START--><b> true Cinderella</b><!--EZCODE BOLD END--> team that year. And they were deeply underestimated by their opponents at State. Going into the tournament, the Lecy brothers were no secret. <!--EZCODE BOLD START--><b> Scott Lecy</b><!--EZCODE BOLD END--> quickly became known statewide because I believe he led the state that year in scoring; but people wrote him off because they believed RJM had no competition. His younger brother Todd was a sophomore at the time and proved to be quite a sparkplug himself.<br><br>The crazy thing about that tournament was that we had # 1 and # 2 in the state going at each other in the quarter-finals (Roseau v. Edina East) ... it was the <!--EZCODE BOLD START--><b> Brotens</b><!--EZCODE BOLD END--> against <!--EZCODE BOLD START--><b> Steve Pepper</b><!--EZCODE BOLD END--> and the Hornets. It was a given (with the exception of Hill-Murray) that the winner of that QF game would go on to win the title, and everyone pretty much wrote off RJM in the finals.<br><br>Well, like you said ... RJM pretty much outplayed Edina and took the title home.<br><br>In looking at their team photo in the program that year, one would think these guys were a bunch of clowns; there were players hanging on one another with arms wrapped around the player next to them with hair down to their asses. (But then again ... we all had hair like that in the 70's).<br><br>They have always been one of my favorite teams to participate in a state tournament.<br><br>In those days ... players would literally get college scholarships based upon an appearance and their performance at the state tournament. <!--EZCODE BOLD START--><b> College scouts</b><!--EZCODE BOLD END--> would literally pluck them for their respective teams based upon a three-game performance. Many great outstate high school players were overlooked if their team didn't make it to state.<br><br><!--EZCODE EMOTICON START :hat --><img src=http://www.ezboard.com/intl/aenglish/im ... s/pimp.gif ALT=":hat"><!--EZCODE EMOTICON END--> - "<!--EZCODE ITALIC START--><i> Never</i><!--EZCODE ITALIC END--> judge a book by its' cover!" <p></p><i></i>

dinoskate
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2002 10:26 am

Re: 1977 Rochester JM Squad

Post by dinoskate » Tue Mar 05, 2002 10:26 am

This team was on a mission that was very unfinished the few years before. I graduated in '76 and was one of many fans who went to everything - every sport home or away games - not sure if they still do that in Rochester - but know for sure that most students don't in northern metro Twin Cities.<br><br>Anyhow Coach Gene Sack was a wonderful guy - everyone loved him - players and students. Not sure how he's doing now, but each year at tourney time, Rochester PB has story about his health now being not very well - and he lives in southern US. <br><br>They ('77) had a great team that just lost a few good players the year before. This was also back in the time that the section 1 was the southern MN teams and the Bloomington teams - there were 3 back then, and maybe a couple others (Burnsville?) Well the section final games (and quarters I think) were always up at the Met Center and JM came up short to Bloomington teams the past couple of years. As a southern MN person - we just hated the fact that the section that representented "southern MN" had this Bloomington and metro influence put in. So we always favored teams from anywhere but the "cities". <br><br>These were also the years earlier where season conference games with newer hockey teams like Austin would end up a total rout, and I do remember hearing of one game ending hand shaking ritual that ended in a brawl (not sure of teams)! Those games in the future had alot of police pressence.<br><br>I guess we as JM fans could never understand why the rest of the state would dog us and Rochester schools so badly! It was great to see "the underdog JM take the state in '77".<br>So, it's also been a pleasure to see Lourdes be so successful lately and Austin make it there recently. It's too bad that I read on here that the other Rochester schools are having trouble fielding teams lately!<br> <br>Even tho, I've long ago graduated - the sport is great to follow - along with other high school sports - and my enthusiasm has never gone following high school sports during seasons and during their State Tournaments!<br><br>As far as entertainment value, and a great place for your kids to be - you can't beat your local high school sports! <p></p><i></i>

Chris J
Posts: 66
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2002 9:28 am

Gene Sack

Post by Chris J » Tue Mar 05, 2002 10:35 am

Sorry to say, I believe Gene passed away quite recently.<br><br>The '77 Rochester JM team WAS one of the great Cinderella's of all time. The final against Edina was almost a home game. A couple thousand fans cheering on the Hornets and the other 15,000 pulling for the Rockets. <p></p><i></i>

dinoskate
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2002 10:26 am

Re: Gene Sack

Post by dinoskate » Tue Mar 05, 2002 11:13 am

Chris J: thank you for the information. So sorry to hear of this - but he did live a great life! And he passed away in just in the past few weeks! <br><br>Mom must've forgot to let me know that info. So I went to Rochester Post Bulletin (internet site) to read up on the info - I haven't encountered a newspaper having a "yearly pay" site until now! So hope mom saved the articles.<br><br>Anyone know of other recent articles about Gene Sack?<br><br>25 years ago the title! Boy are we getting old! <p></p><i></i>

goldy313
Posts: 3244
Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2002 11:56 am

Re: Gene Sack

Post by goldy313 » Tue Mar 05, 2002 12:08 pm

My dad taught, and coached with Gene Sack in the late 60's and early 70's. He would go down to Arizona every spring to see him, he had Leukemia and had been very sick for a couple of years. In and out, mostly in, the hospital for a while. He died on Feb. 20. <p></p><i></i>

Mitch Hawker
Site Admin
Posts: 366
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2002 12:16 pm

1977 State Championship Game

Post by Mitch Hawker » Tue Mar 05, 2002 3:28 pm

I am not sure that JM outplayed Edina (East) in the traditional sense as I believe the shots were about 45-15 in favor of East with probably almost again as many blocked by JM skaters. Jeff Nelson must have had welts all over after blocking so many shots. I have said this before, but I think that Championship by the 1977 JM team was likely the biggest upset in the history of the state tournament. When the 1980 Olympic team pulled off their miracle, it almost seemed like deja vu to this Rochester hockey fan.

Note: The boxscore says that the shots were actually 39 to 12 in favor of Edina East (In the Miracle on Ice game the shots were 39 to 16 in favor of the Soviets).

I don't recall, but am guessing that the 4th JM goal with 58 seconds left was an empty netter.

Box scores of the other two games show that JM was outshot 24 to 18 by Southwest and 37 to 26 by South St Paul

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