Season comes to end for club hockey team at ACHA nationals
After losing to the University of Miami Ohio by five goals, the Central Michigan club hockey team had its backs against the wall and put themselves in a must-win situation against the University of Eastern Washington.
Coming off a 4-1 victory against the University of New Hampshire, Eastern Washing entered the game against the one-loss Chippewas with a lot of confidence. Forty seconds into the first period, the Eagles scored the game's first goal when senior winger Kris Boyce’s shot went behind CMU goalie Matt Darr. Boyce added a second goal with two minutes left in the second to give EWU a 2-0 lead.
The second period started with CMU facing a two goal deficit and the choice to roll over and give up its chances at a championship, or fight back, play its style of hockey and keep national championship dreams alive.
CMU and the Eagles traded scoring opportunities throughout the period, until CMU senior captain Jordan Jakubik scored twice and freshman Evan Loughman added a third late in the period to take a 3-2 lead heading into the third.
CMU added two more goals in the third and earned a tough 5-3 win against EWU. But the team could only celebrate for a few moments before having to focus on the third team in their round robin group, the University of New Hampshire. To have a chance to advance to the semifinals, CMU was once again facing a must-win game.
In the first period, Jakubik took little time to find the back of the net, scoring five minutes into the game off an assist from junior Taylor Turner. The one goal lead stood until in the second period when the Wildcats tied the game.
CMU continued to look for a way back into the lead and in the closing minutes of the period, Nick Badder scored his first goal and added his second early in the third period.
CMU carried a 3-1 lead with 13 minutes left in the game.
“I thought we were going to win for sure,” Badder said. “We just did not play well in our own zone in the third.”
Things looked good early in the third, but only one minute after Badder’s second goal, UNH scored to cut CMU's lead to one goal. The Wildcats scored again 47 seconds to the tie game and shift momentum into their favor.
For the rest of the period, everything CMU tried on the ice failed and UNH scored five consecutive to end the game, including an empty net goal with three seconds left.
Although the trip to San Jose, Calif., was not a success for CMU on the scoreboard, the season proved to be a memorable one. Their appearance at the American Collegiate Hockey Association national finals was the first in five years.
“It was a great season and I never thought we would have done so well,” Badder said. “The team is looking forward to next season and should be better than ever next year in just losing two players.”