When the John Carroll University club hockey team skated onto the ice in Athens, Ohio to take on Ohio University in their 2012-2013 season opener all the way back on Sept. 21, no one on the team knew how their season would turn out.
Fast forward to present day, and the Blue Streaks are making history: For the first time ever, JCU has earned a berth at the 2013 National Championships in Chicago.
With a 4-2 win over Duquesne this past Sunday, Feb. 3, the Blue Streaks officially earned a shot to play for the American Collegiate Hockey Association Division I national title.
“Going into the game, we were well aware that this win against Duquesne would clinch our spot [at Nationals], so when that game clock hit zero, we were riding high,” said junior Louie Morici.
With an overall record of 17-12 this season, the Blue Streaks finished first in the College Hockey Mid-America division, giving themselves the No. 1 seed for the upcoming CHMA Tournament, which will take place on both Feb. 23 and 24. While the Blue and Gold have plenty to look forward to with a berth at Nationals, the regular season is not over yet.
JCU will take to the road on Saturday, Feb. 9 to take on West Virginia University. The following day on Sunday, Feb. 10, the Blue Streaks will play on the road against Youngstown State University. After that mini road trip, the Blue Streaks will return home to Gilmour Ice Arena to host Slippery Rock University on both Feb. 15 and 16 to end the regular season. With four games remaining on the schedule, you can be sure the Blue Streaks will be using the rest of the regular season to sharpen their game.
As this season marks the first in which the Blue Streaks have earned a trip to Nationals, it’s safe to say that this program is one on the rise.
“We had our first 20-win season last year, which set a record for wins [in a season]. This year we had our first division championship and Nationals bid,” said Morici. “A lot has happened in the three years I’ve been here. We’re re-writing history day-by-day.”
The 2013 National Championships will be played from March 1 through March 6 and hosted by Robert Morris University Illinois at the Edge Ice Arena. The tournament will be single-elimination and involve 20 teams.
Last season, the 2012 National Championships took place in Cleveland, as hosted by the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, and were won by the University of Delaware. While the Blue Streaks certainly would have enjoyed the opportunity to play in their home city, they’re not going to complain with the opportunity in front of them this season.
“To have a shot at a national title is something I can’t even put into words,” said junior Sean McHugh. “I’m just so happy that all of our hard work and determination paid off.”