It was a tough ending for the CSU club hockey team last week in the ACHA Division II National Tournament, losing 5-4 in overtime to William Paterson.
The loss was the second overtime defeat in as many days, as the Rams fell to Lindenwood 4-3 the day before. The Rams aspirations to be national champions ended in a heartbreaking fashion after a dominating performance in the first game of the tournament, crushing the University of Maryland Baltimore County 8-2.
â€œItâ€™s disappointing,â€ senior AJ Hau said. â€œWe played a hard fought game but it is just shocking.â€
The second round game was expected to be the hardest match up putting an offensive CSU against a defensively oriented team in Lindenwood.
â€œLindenwood was a defensive team,â€ freshman Paul Jenkins said. â€œThey ran a system that would try to stop us and it took a lot out of us.â€
The next day looked on paper to be a fairly easy game against William Paterson, a team that was not supposed to be as good as the Rams. Only a day removed from a hard loss, the Rams did not appear to have the same intensity as their opponents.
â€œWe feel like idiots now,â€ Jenkins said. â€œ(The William Patterson game) seemed like us and Lindenwood; we didnâ€™t come into that next game with the same motivation and their goalie stood on his head.â€
The overall mood in the locker room after two straight overtime losses was that of a team that could not believe what had just happened.
â€œWe were shocked,â€ Hau said. â€œWe were very disappointed.â€
Jenkins was the team leader in points during the regular season and looked at as the go-to guy for instant offense. However, he did not feel as though he fulfilled that role during the tournament.
â€œIâ€™m very disappointed in myself,â€ Jenkins said. â€œI needed to be better. I wasnâ€™t the guy I needed to be.â€
For the seniors on the team, the loss hurts a bit more knowing that there wonâ€™t be a next year, but for the young players, the tough losses serve as a lesson for the future.
â€œWe definitely learned to not give up,â€ Jenkins said. â€œIt will make us stronger. There were a lot of new guys this year, but now all of us have been there and it will be motivation to do better next year.â€
Club Sports Beat Reporter Cris Tiller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.