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DIII hockey wins first Vezna Cup in program history

Junior Forward Dalton Sutherland plays during the CMU v Northwood University game Jan 27 at Isabella County Events Arena

For the first time in program history, members of the Central Michigan Division III hockey team are Vezna Cup Champions.

The cup was secured Saturday in the championship game after CMU held off Michigan State in the final period to win, 4-3. Leading up to the game, CMU topped Oakland University, 6-1.

CMU scored six goals against Oakland, starting with two in the opening period from senior defenseman Dylan Billins with 4:41 left and sophomore defenseman Brennan Martin with 1:14 left.

Both CMU and Oakland scored in the second, making it 2-1 to close out the middle period.

OU forward Andrew Berry scored with just under three and a half minutes remaining in the second, and Chippewa graduate forward Nathan Allgaier scored his onl goal of the game with just under 13 minutes remaining.

CMU pulled away in the final period — scoring three more times. Freshman forward Michael Croff, Martin, and junior forward Patrick Bressner sealed the victory. 

Championship Game

Saturday’s matchup featured MSU, the No. 1 ranked DIII hockey team in the country, and CMU at Patterson Ice Arena in Grand Rapids.

When it came time for CMU and MSU to play for the hardware, CMU knew they had a good shot at winning the cup, junior forward Dalton Sutherland said.

“We were riding momentum from the win against Oakland,” he said. “We were reminded of how tough of a team we can be to play against.”

With 18:33 to go in the opening period, freshman forward Gabe Smith scored to give the Chippewas their first point of the night.

CMU senior forward Jason Pischke would get the second goal of the night when he put one away with about 16 minutes left in the opening period.

MSU forward Austin Rothe put two of the Spartans three goals away in the opening period with his first coming at the 14:21 mark and his second, a power play goal, with 2:52 to close out the period, 2-2.

In the second, the Chippewas senior forward James Gleason put one away on a redirect to give the Chippewas a 3-2 lead with 13:40 to go.

CMU junior forward Dalton Sutherland made it 4-2 when he scored his first of the game with 3:26 to go in the second period.

MSU continued to keep up with CMU as it scored its third goal of the night from defenseman Kevin Gramlich, making it 4-3.

Neither team scored in the final period, and CMU would finish as the champions of the MCHC.

The Chippewas' next game will be in the American Collegiate Hockey Association National Tournament starting at 11 a.m. March 13 in Columbus, Ohio against George Mason University.