With tryouts this week and its first game a little over two weeks away, the CSU Hockey team is getting ready for another successful season.
After being selected to attend the national tournament hosted by New York University last year, the Rams played well but ended up a few goals short of making it to the semifinals. They defeated Franklin Pierce College 7-3 and buried Michigan State University 14-7, but could not overcome the University of Indiana losing 6-4.
They completed the season with a No. 8 ranking in Division II by the American Collegiate Hockey Association.
The Rams were one of four teams, including the University of Colorado, Utah State and San Jose State, that qualified to represent the 30-team West Division, and the only one to win a game at nationals. CSU showed strong play scoring 25 goals in the tournament and only getting scored upon 16 times.
Senior forward Chris Lockrem, who graduated in the spring, was named second team All-Tournament while sophomore forward Josh Bowers, now a junior, received honorable mention.
“Our goal is to win nationals and I think we have a great chance of achieving it,” senior forward and team president Shawn Kallet said.
Even though the Rams lost a few seniors last year, including their captain Lockrem and goalie Aaron Gaddis, they have high expectations this year.
“We lost a good group of seniors last year, but a good group of freshman is coming in,” head coach Brian Sutton said.
In his second year, Sutton highly anticipates the upcoming season.
“We are looking to establish ourselves as a major force in the ACHA,” he said. “We have a lot of new recruits and a great veteran core to build on.”
According to Kallet, CSU is a strong enough team to play in Division I, but cannot fund the travel budget needed to constantly visit the East Coast to play other Division I teams. As president, he is trying to change that.
“We are going to do a lot of fund raising and get involved in the community. We are looking to have a break out year,” Kallet said.
Tryouts started last night and will go through Sunday. Then, the 25-30 chosen players will begin practicing and preparing for their first game, Sept. 20 against the Highland Hills Outlaws Midget AAA team.
The team’s first home game will be the annual alumni game and will take place on Oct. 5 at 7:45 p.m. at Edora Pool Ice Center in Fort Collins.