MSU Club Hockey takes home ACHA national championship
Teams from across the country competed for the title, but MSU came out on top.
After an intense competition, the MSU Division III Hockey Club won the 2014-2015 ACHA national championship game in Pelham, Alabama March 14.
“No one really had us penciled in to make that kind of run,” junior forward Will Badner said. “During the season we weren’t really a favorite to win it, and that made it that much sweeter to do what we did.”
The tournament had the Spartans facing off against Alabama, Colorado State, Pitts-Johnstown and Bryn Athyn College in the semi-finals.
The Spartans went up against Florida Gulf Coast with the national championship on the line.
The two teams fought hard, and in the end it was the Spartans that brought the championship back to East Lansing with a 6-2 win.
The score was tied 2-2 through the first two periods, but it was junior right winger Jayson Lottes who broke through and scored the go-ahead goal.
After that the flood gates opened.The Spartans used offensive fire-power to take the win.
Sophomore forward Triston Eggenberger and junior left winger Chris Coyne both registered one goal and one assist.
Junior right winger Branden Tracey and junior left winger Connor Flynn each contributed one assist, and freshman defenseman Paul Wagner and junior forward Derek Compeau registered two assists each.
Junior goaltender Kyle Laslo made 46 saves on 48 shots, and the winning goal for the Spartans was made by senior forward Mike Lipari.
“It was a really good team effort,” Tracey said.
The team attributed their win to their chemistry and their performance at regionals, where they ranked third for the North Region.
Their win against Saginaw Valley State University, whose team has two national championship titles, injected the team with spirit.
“We won 7-0 against Saginaw Valley and the kids really came together at that point,” head coach Don Headly said.
The team worked hard to get to the national championships, and exceeded expectations after a rough season.
With their first national title under their belts, Headly and the team are optimistic about the future. The majority of the players are returning in the fall, and they believe they will have a good shot at the national title again next year.
“I couldn’t ask for a better bunch of young men,” Headly said.