There was a Perl Journal article
by Jon Orwant and Dan Gruhl on precisely this back in 1999.
I've used this technique any number of times for quick hacks. As you correctly observed, there's no need to truck out HTML::* when you just want a snippet of data out of a web page.
Of course, you need to grok regexen pretty well to wield this magic, and the list of cavaets is as long as my arm, but my point is that for quick hacks, this is fine. Don't be ashamed of your heresy. :-)
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