The men’s Division I ice hockey team completed a wild playoff run on top of the College Hockey Mid-American Division (CHMA) and were crowned the champions of the CMHA over the weekend.
Despite a disappointing end to their playoff season last year, the core of the team was determined to make it to Texas this time around.
“It was amazing coming in as a third seed and getting some revenge from the last year,” team captain Gavin Cummings said.
Cummings is referring to their season-ending game in the 2019 playoffs. The Crimson Hawks were ranked first and lost in the first round to the eventual champions, Robert Morris University. However, IUP came into this postseason with a different mindset.
“We just took it one game at a time and really focused on playing a full 60-minute game whether we were up or down on the scoreboard,” Cummings said.
This was evident when Joey Ditullio netted the go-ahead tally against RMU in the semifinals this past weekend. Tyler Speis sealed the deal with an empty-net goal, and the Hawks’ demons were condemned.
The moment the team, coaches and fans were waiting for all season came down between the nationally ranked Panthers of Pittsburgh and Indiana’s very own Crimson Hawks. Things were not looking too promising by the end of the first period with the Panthers up 1–0 and IUP registering only two shots.
Be that as it may, the team persevered like they did all season and went into the third period tied 1–1.
The CHMA Championship winning goal came off the stick of the playoffs’ MVP, Brendan George, late in the third period.
“Especially over the three playoff games, our seniors were a big part of this year’s team and left a great mark in our program,” Cummings said.
The team’s eight seniors and graduate students have led the team throughout the season.
The Crimson Hawks will fly to Frisco, Texas, to compete for the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) Men’s Division 1 National championship.
The team plans to prepare the next two weeks “practicing on getting sharper and crisper to compete with high-level teams,” Cummings said.
“We are focused on taking nationals one game at a time and enjoying every moment as a family.”
The historic season these young men have achieved and are still working for all comes down to the 2020 ACHA National Championships played on March 19 through March 29 in Plano and McKinney, Texas.
Congratulations to the players, coaches and families of the 2019–20 IUP men’s Division I ice hockey team, and good luck in Texas. Yee haw, and bring home a title.