DIII hockey team upsets No. 1 seed in first game of ACHA Tournament
The American Collegiate Hockey Association’s National Tournament began Tuesday as Central Michigan’s Division III hockey team took on Florida Gulf Coast.
The fourth-seeded Chippewas upset No. 1 Florida Gulf Coast 3-1 in Pool C tournament play at the Southside Ice Arena in Grand Rapids. All three CMU goals were recorded during the first period.
Senior defenseman Cal Jesko scored the first goal while senior forward Nate Allgaier scored the other two within three minutes of each other. It was the team’s first win at nationals in the club's history.
“This win was big for us,” said CMU Head Coach Tyler Cataline. “They were the number one team in our bracket. This puts us in the driver’s seat for the rest of the nationals."
The winner of each of the four pools advances to the semifinals on Friday.
CMU went 18-14-3 during the 2015-16 regular season and was 0-3 against FGCU before Tuesday. The Chippewas traveled to Florida in October and lost 2-1 in the first game and 3-1 in games two and three against the Eagles.
“It was definitely a little easier after already playing them this season,” said junior defenseman Brendan O’Malley. “They came in with the same game plan they had earlier in the season. We already had an idea of what kind of systems they run and who their go-to players are and we made some adjustments to our game coming into today.”
CMU goalie Tyler Everlove made 42 saves and only let in one goal in the third period en route to the victory. His save percentage is .977 during the tournament.
“We started off aggressive and stayed with it,” Cataline said. “Everlove played a great game. He made some key saves for us.”
One of the main things the team did to prepare for the tournament is keep a “business trip atmosphere.”
“We’re making sure everyone is in line and not acting like this is a trip to party and have fun,” said senior defenseman Tyler Carr. “It is our spring break and a lot of guys were planning on going on vacation. We want to have as much fun as we can, but winning will make it that much more fun. We are treating every game like it’s the championship game; playing it shift by shift every time we are out there.”
CMU will play Farmingdale State College at 10 a.m. Wednesday and plays Aurora University at 10:15 a.m. on Thursday. The two semifinal games are slated for 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Friday and the championship is at 7 p.m. on Saturday.