Club ice hockey wins title
5-1 victory gives program first-ever championship
Published: Monday, March 12, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, March 13, 2012 02:03
The Delaware men's ice hockey team finished off its season by winning the American Collegiate Hockey Association's National Championship for club teams in Strongsville, Ohio Wenesday night.
By beating Oakland (Mich.) University in the final 5-1, the Hens captured the program's first ever Division I championship.
"I can't describe it, it's an once-in-a-lifetime feeling," junior goalie S.J. Broadt, Most Valuable Player of the tournament, said. "It's 40 years of our history. We've been around for 40 years and we do it. Everyone's so excited for us, like the alumni and everyone on campus. It's unreal."
Broadt had to overcome injuries to be named the tournament's most outstanding player. He broke a metatarsal bone in his foot in practice during the regular season, but after a period of rest, Broadt began to practice and was cleared to play.
"I was supposed to be out for six weeks," he said. "I missed our [the Eastern States' Collegiate Hockey League] playoffs [two weeks ago]. It's still broken now. I didn't use any medication; I had our trainer, Steve Feldman, do an arch taping of my foot. It helped with the pain."
With their goalie back between the pipes, the Hens faced their toughest challenge in the quarterfinals against Ohio University. Down 4-3 with seven minutes left in the game, their season was in jeopardy. However, sophomore forward Chris Volonnino, assisted by senior defenseman Jason Michaud, netted the tying goal. Then, after 29 minutes of overtime, sophomore forward Mark Zeszut, assisted again by Michaud, put away the winning goal to make it 5-4.
"Ohio was, in my mind, the best team we played at the tournament," head coach M.F. Schurman said. "I felt we were deeper than they were, and our depth and conditioning helped put us over the top. After a full overtime and a half, we were still going at a pretty good pace."
"It was a very relieving feeling when the tying goal went in," senior forward and captain Andre Menard said. "It was good to know the clock wasn't going to run out on us."
Having beaten Lindenwood 6-3 in the semifinals, the Hens jumped on Oakland and didn't look back. Junior forward Connor Moore put two goals past the goalie late in the third to seal the deal, but it was sophomore forward Michael Piet who started the avalanche of goals, scoring with 1:03 gone in the first period.
Sophomore forward Christian Tasker and Volonnino scored the other two goals, Volonnino's coming on a power play.
"You keep looking up at the clock," Menard said. "In the Oakland game, we had a 2-0 lead, and I just kept thinking, ‘Could this clock go by any quicker?' I wanted it to be the third period with five minutes left, but to protect the lead, you have to play simple hockey, make the right decisions."
Menard said being in the locker room is what he will remember most about this season.
"It's just a really good group," he said. "We live together, do everything together. It's a family, in a sense."
With Penn State, ranked No. 1 coming into the tournament, moving up to NCAA-level hockey next year, the Hens could be top dogs in their division, but Schurman is not about to let those thoughts get to him.
"I don't worry about the rankings during the course of the year," he said. "I think we proved they were a popularity contest."