WATERVILLE — It is a moment that will become part of Colby College lore, a story that will be told and retold over time.

A few years from now, when Joe Schuler is a senior, Griffin Fadden will walk into the Mules’ dressing room and Schuler will greet him with a big hug, a smile and a pat on the back. As Fadden walks away, some still green around the ears freshmen will ask Fadden, “Who was that?”

And Schuler — and the other members of the Colby program who were at Harold Alfond Forum last Saturday night — will grace the rookie with the story of the night Fadden’s Colby legend was made.

“It was pretty nuts,” Schuler recalled Monday. “He comes to the bench with blood dripping off his face everywhere and he’s screaming, and the boys definitely feed off that. Some guys are score-a-goal guys, Griff’s about blocking a shot, and it’s sometimes more (impactful). The energy is through the roof when stuff like that happens.”

The legend sets up like this: Midway through the third period of a 4-2 win over the University of New England in the first round of the NCAA tournament, Fadden threw himself headlong into a Ryan Burr slap shot, blocking the shot and sending the Mules off on the rush to the other end of the rink.

The price? A broken tooth and a busted cage on Fadden’s helmet.

“I just tried to get my body in front of it,” said Fadden, a senior center on the Mules’ fourth line this season. “It could have been a lot worse. That’s why we wear cages.”

Colby head coach Blaise MacDonald praised Fadden’s selflessness, as did nearly every other member of the team.

“You know your fearless players as a coach and you know they’ll do anything to serve their teammates — and Griff wrote the book on that,” MacDonald said. “Our bench was so fired up and so ecstatic, you’d have thought we just won the national championship. Those plays are not unheralded with this group of young men.”

“He put his body on the line and did not let that puck go through,” Colby senior captain Michael Rudolf said. “When he came to the bench and we saw what it did, it’s ‘Wow, this guy’s willing to give his body up for the team.’ That gives you that extra gear to just finish off the game.”

The type of grit and energy that Fadden, Schuler and fellow fourth-liner Zach Hale, a junior, have brought to the Colby lineup over the final third of the season is tangible. The trio is a big part of the Mules’ advancing to the national quarterfinals this Saturday night at No. 3 SUNY Geneseo in New York.

In the team’s last two playoff games alone, Hale and Schuler have each scored big goals. Hale gave the Mules the first goal in the New England Small College Athletic Conference championship game, while Schuler scored in the third period against UNE to add an all-important insurance goal for Colby.

“When you get that sort of production out of one of your checking lines, that’s a real bonus,” MacDonald said. “It really inspires the team. Their work habits are very, very good and they all have talent and skills that can produce offensive threats.”

The strength of the group comes from its ability to simplify its collective game. The trio enjoys providing a physical presence, one that has translated into offensive-zone chances.

Schuler and Hale each have four goals this season.

“I think we have great depth all around, but I think our line especially is just about being simple and getting it in deep,” Fadden said. “We’re working well down low and have guys who can get it to the net. We’re a bunch of grinders, which is an honor. We’re starting to chip away, and it’s all starting to fall the right way for us.”

“I don’t know that it clicks at one point,” Schuler said of the fourth line’s chemistry. “It’s really a learning process. Is it challenging? Yeah, but it’s a good challenge.”

And while the entirety of the Colby roster, the campus and the surrounding community is enjoying this postseason ride, nobody is having more fun than the Mules’ fourth line.

“We’re not going to do anything too fancy,” Schuler said. “These guys are great to play with. I’ve learned a lot about when to try and make a play and when not to. It’s hard-nosed, but it’s fun for me.”

There’s nothing more hard-nosed than blocking a shot nearly off your nose — and it’s one of the reasons Fadden’s teammates regard him so highly.

He might only have two goals in his four-year career at Colby, but he’s done plenty else to leave his lasting mark on the program.

Last weekend’s face block is only Fadden’s latest entry.

“Griff, quite frankly, that’s just what he does,” MacDonald said. “It wasn’t a big deal to him (to block that shot). That tells you a lot about the type of mindset he has.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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