The University of Cincinnati's Ice Hockey Team's breakout season came to a bittersweet end this Saturday at regionals at the hands of TSCHL rival Ohio University. It could've been the nerves that come along with the team's first ever trip to regionals, or the long haul in tight vans, but overall, it just wasn't the night for the Bearcats. They fell to an early deficit and although they made a hard fought comeback, they were unable to gain the lead at any point throughout the matchup. With just over 2 minutes left, with the game tied at 5 goals, OU got on a 3 on 2 break and converted, which turned out to be the game winner. The Bearcats pulled the goalie and got a few great opportunities in the closing 120 seconds, but OU was able to put in an empty netter to seal the deal. It was a tough loss to swallow, but nothing that your UC Ice Hockey team is going to hang their heads about.
On a much happier note, the Bearcats season ended with historically great success along the way. The Bearcats finished the season with a 27-4-0-3 record and gained the highest ranking the club has ever seen, at 24th in all of ACHA D2 Hockey. They became TSCHL Champions for the first time I'm school history, as they swept the entire league and nation by surprise. Three Bearcats won TSCHL awards: Player of the Year (Damien Lona), Freshman of the Year (Ryan Murphy), and Coach of the Year (Tyler Kangas). They boasted the top 3 point leaders in all ACHA D2 play between Lona, Murphy, and Okada, all which will be returning players next season (This is Murphy's and Okada's first year with the Bearcats). They will lose only 3 seniors this year (Tish, Kleinwaechter, and Johnson). With all of that said, I think it is safe to say the future looks brighter than ever for UC Club Ice Hockey. We are all very excited to see what this unit does next year, as they get some more playing experience together under their belt and hopefully bring on a couple more key role players.
Thank you to all of the players and coaches that made the season the best one in UC Ice Hockey History. It is an absolute pleasure to watch this high octane offense go to work and we hope that many more of you can come out to see them back at it again next season. The biggest thank you goes out to all of our fans who supported us, whether it was at Sports Plus, a 4 hour flight away, or from their own couches watching our Livestream (wonderfully commentated by Paul Lachmann). You are the reason the Cats fought hard all year and your support kept us going! Stay tuned for updates on prospect camp and other events for the team! We will see you in September, when the puck drops again for your University of Cincinnati Club Ice Hockey Squad! #GoBearcats #RollCats #WarCats