RMU ACHA club hockey team captures title

Audrey Gardner, Staff Reporter

The regular season ended for the RMU ACHA DI hockey team about two weeks ago and with the regular season in the books, the team spent those weeks preparing for the College Hockey Mid-America playoffs, which kicked off Friday, Feb. 20.

The team didn’t see their first game until Saturday, but by the time the weekend was over the Colonials would capture the CHMA Championship Title.

“Our group truly has a great blend of chemistry; we are able to remain loose yet focused with our balance of personality,” said Wes Heline. “We have grown close and let our guys express themselves as a talkative bunch, yet we remain professional and that lets us handle pressure situations, as we have played our best hockey during the most important games this season. This was a full 60 minute effort today. We look to carry this into the national tournament next week.”

RMU faced #5 Duquesne University, who beat #4 The University of Pittsburgh Friday night. The Colonials and Dukes met three times during the regular season, and despite losing their final game of the season to the Dukes they won the season series 2-1. Sean Scannell would allow two goals during, the game with five goals scored by the Colonials. James Joyce, Alex Dagnel with two, Chris Howland, and Cody Brightbill all scored for RMU.

Their opponent for the championship game was determined right after the 5-2 wing a against the Dukes. #3 West Virginia University knocked out #4 John Carroll University Friday night. From there the Mountaineers would move on the face #2 Mercyhust. WVU would beat Mercyhurst and find themselves up against the Colonials.

Despite the fact that WVU was playing in their third game in three days they were able to keep the Colonials off the board till 8:20 where Howland would put the colonials up 1-0 and the scored remained that way until the second period.

During the middle frames both teams had a goal waved off which could’ve resulted in a different score. But after two the Colonials would be 3-0 with goals coming from Andrew Lister and Heinle.

“I thought the stick was a little high,” Ryan Gayso said of WVU’s waved off goal. “But the ref waved it off right away and after a discussion they made the call”

RMU came out looking to add to their during the third period but WVU struck first at 11:51 making it a two goal game, but the Colonials responded a few minutes later with Randy Unger finding the net. The final goal of the game came with just seconds left with Dagnel found the empty cage; giving a final score of 5-1.

“We were aware that both Duquesne and WVU had played multiple games already in the weekend, and playoff games are taxing, both mentally and physically,” said Heinle. “So, we took advantage of our fresh legs and minds as we prepared to face both teams. We knew that by the end of each game, our stamina would carry us through to the outcome we desired.”

The Title of CHMA Hockey champions wasn’t the only award handed out at the conclusion of the game. Head coach Michael Joseph was named CHMA Head Coach of the Year and Dagnel was named CHMA Playoff MVP.