Monday, March 8, 2004
OU hockey team wins national championship
By Jeff Samoray, OU Web Writer
In just its fifth season of play, the Oakland University Men’s Hockey Club has won a national championship. Freshman forward Jordan Ingram scored in the second period against New York University to seal OU’s 5-1 victory in the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) Division II National Tournament final March 6 at the University of Maryland.
“It was the happiest day of my life and also the saddest,” said second-year head coach Craig Furstenau. “We couldn’t wait for the clock to run down because that’s when you know you’ve won. But at the same time, you want that moment to last forever. We’ve had a great time as a team all season long. Now that it’s over, it’s sad to see the team go its separate ways.”
Oakland (30-3-3) became stronger with each tournament game and played in dominating fashion, beating Siena 3-2 (OT), Indiana 4-2 and defending champion Colorado 9-3 to advance to the semifinals. Senior forward Dan Oleksy scored in overtime to give Oakland a 4-3 semifinal win over Stony Brook. The victories also gave the team a strong sense of confidence heading into the final.
“Everyone was loose and felt that this was it,” Furstenau said of his team’s mental state prior to the final. “We knew Stony Brook was a better team than NYU, so we were anxious to get the game under way.”
Oakland got off to a fast start in the final when sophomore forward Will McMahon scored within the first two minutes, but it was Ingram’s goal that gave Oakland the decisive edge.
“We had a lot of early chances, but just got the one goal in the first period,” Furstenau said. ”My fear was that if we didn’t take advantage of our chances, NYU would hang close throughout the game. But Ingram’s goal in the second period just deflated them. You could see it on their faces. By the end of the second period, we had a 5-0 lead and it was pretty much over. It was a totally dominating performance.”
Oakland also played strong defensively throughout the tournament. Of the 11 goals it allowed, only one came when Oakland was at full strength. Only Stony Brook was able to outshoot Oakland, and that was by a small margin.
“Throughout the entire season, we stressed getting the puck into the other team’s zone, having one guy go in real fast, a second guy read the play and a third remain on the blue line. That way we had three guys back waiting for turnovers,” Furstenau said. “This strategy worked very well in the tournament. Our opponents found it very hard to get the puck into our zone, and they turned the puck over a lot. Defense was definitely the key to the tournament.”
The tournament MVP award went to McMahon, who also was on the first All-Tournament team with senior defenseman Karl Borgquist. Junior defenseman Ryan Teasdale was on the second All-Tournament team and senior forward Ron Kolito received an honorable mention.
For more information on Oakland’s championship victory, visit the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) Division II National Tournament Web site. For team statistics, records, a roster, photos, video clips, recruiting information and more, visit the OU Men’s Hockey Club Web site.