This season the John Carroll Blue Streaks hockey team made one of the biggest turnarounds in the club’s history. After starting the season a terrifying 0-4, the Blue Streaks faced what could have been a disastrous road ahead.
Failure, however, was not an option for this year’s squad, as they rose from the ashes and put together the best campaign in the club’s history.
With two victories over Slippery Rock on Feb. 15 and 16, the Blue Streaks proved why they are now contenders for the College Hockey Mid-America title and national title heading into post-season play, with a 20-13 overall record.
On Friday, Feb. 15, the Blue Streaks started their final home stand in impressive fashion, with a dominating 12-3 victory over Slippery Rock. The team Friday night was nothing like the 0-4 team at the beginning of the season. JCU played with improved skill and finesse, but most importantly with a visibly different attitude.
The scoring fest began at 17:00 in the first period, when sophomore Mike Gionta scored off of an assist from junior Jarrett Snider. The scene was surreal, as the Blue Streaks barely celebrated, but rather skated right back to the middle of the rink as if they were ready to score again instantly. They did not lack enthusiasm, but rather were full of excitement because they knew more goals were awaiting them. It was a calm swagger that showed in their play.
After Slippery Rock tied the game at 1-1 with 11:47 remaining in the first period, JCU went on a scoring frenzy for the remainder of the period with goals coming from junior Danny Potter, sophomore Patrick Dengler and junior Sean McHugh.
The slaughter of Slippery Rock did not stop there, as scoring continued throughout the game from McHugh, Giotta, seniors Jesse Deitrick and Sean Lattal and sophomore Joe McAuliffe.
The dominating 12-3 victory entailed many impressive performances, including hat tricks from Gionta and Deitrick. Another great performance came from freshman goalie Scott Cromling, who stepped in for his first career start with confidence and plenty of saves to go with it to rest junior goalie Justin Camuto.
The domination continued Saturday, as sophomore Tyler Potts, freshman Greg Makozy, junior Jeff Russell and Lattal each scored, giving the Blue Streaks a 4-0 shutout over Slippery Rock.
It was a weekend of many firsts for the Blue Streaks. With the return of Camuto came the Blue Streaks’ first shutout of the season. Also, with Friday’s win over Slippery Rock, the Blue Streaks clinched their division title and an opportunity to play for the American Collegiate Hockey Association national title March 1-5 in Chicago.
The Blue Streaks won six of their past seven games and are rolling heading into the CHMA and National Tournaments these upcoming weeks.
Speaking on their impressive play as of late, Potts said, “We’ve been on a roll lately, we’ve shot the puck well and move it around well. We hope to just carry this play over to Nationals.”
The Blue Streaks will be huge underdogs heading into Nationals, as they are the No. 20 seed among 20 teams, but it is their recent streak of winning and overall confident mentality that just might give them a shot at making some noise among national title contenders at the season’s end.