University of Northern Colorado hockey was eliminated from the nationals tournament this past weekend.
The takeaway from the weekend was close, but not quite as each game was a one to two point decision.
UNC improved its performance tremendously this year compared to last year’s nationals.
While the Bears record only improved by half a game at nationals this year, each game was a close contest or the Bears were even leading in some cases.
No one wants to come home without the national championship, but the Bears have a lot to be proud of from this trip.
Only 16 teams in each division can say they made the nationals tournament and UNC can claim one of those spots.
The Bears were also one of ten returning teams from last year’s nationals.
To be in the same company achievement wise as Trine, UMass, Northeastern, and Florida Gulf Coast is admirable by itself.
Game 1: Trine University
In game one the Bears started off slow against Trine University.
Trine played an aggressive formation by staying in the Bears territory early and often.
UNC struggled just to get into the offensive zones without being harassed by the Trine defenders.
Jake Seibold finally got an opportunity to get a clear shot on goal and made the most of it going up 1-0.
Midway through the second period, Cade Boreing would get a goal with help from Porter and Chmelka.
Late in the second Trine scored on a delayed penalty to cut the lead to 2-1.
Early in the third period, Trine would continue their momentum with an aggressive goal at 18:50 left to tie the game.
The rest of the third and overtime would be a great showing of goalie excellence, but neither team could score any further.
Due to ACHA rules, the game ends in a tie of 2-2 and each team receives one point for a tie decision.
Game 2: North Carolina State
Game two featured offensive explosions and prime-time hits from both squads.
UNC fell behind early to a hot-headed Wolfpack team 2-0.
It was not until Brantt Heble was able to sneak one in the net with assists from Boreing and Wood.
In the first 35 seconds of the second period, Jake Seibold evened up the game.
Four minutes later Jay Franceschini would use the power play wisely to score a Bears goal for a 3-2 lead.
NC State would answer with 12:12 left in the second to tie it up again.
Both teams were in penalty trouble all morning long as things were getting chippy and fast-paced.
Truman Gonzales found an opening in the NC State defense six seconds into another Wolfpack power-play.
The Bears were dealt their own medicine as NC State took advantage of a power-play opportunity tying the game at all fours.
Captain Colin Chmelka would once again break the tie with a goal at 6:24.
Another costly power-play goal on the Bears would yet again take away their ever-persistent lead.
A Wolfpack penalty would be called again, but this time no UNC goal opportunity could cement itself.
With 1:54 left in the game NC State was able to fake out Opperman and take the lead with the go-ahead goal.
UNC tried all they could but just did not have any decent opportunities to score in the last few moments.
Game 3: University of Massachusetts
Game three UNC would get back to their defensive ways, but could not shake the penalty trouble.
The Bears highlight of the first period was not allowing a goal and killing off two power-play opportunities from UMass.
UNC was able to hold the Pool A group leader scoreless until 5:12 left in the second period where UMass finally scored.
Early in the third Weber was just released from the penalty box when UMass caught UNC off with a second goal.
In crunch time Garrett Wood would score UNC’s lone goal of the night with 2:24 left in the Bears season.
At 1:47 the Bears pulled their goalie to have another attacker on offense, but not even five seconds later UMass secured the win with an empty net goal.
Moments of Nationals
All photos taken by Maddie Robins and Kelsey Hayes.
For more high-quality photos of Bears Hockey visit Photos by Maddie and Kelsey Hayes Photography on Facebook.
A Season to Remember
The Bears may not have any conference or national title trophies this year, but it was truly a great season for Bears hockey fans.
- Cameron Taggart becomes the second Bear to score 100 career goals
- 24-9-3 Record on the regular season
- Finished second in the ACHA West Region
- A second consecutive trip to ACHA Nationals
- 3-0 vs CU (3-2, 4-0, 4-1)
- 2-0 vs No. 1 in the West Northern Arizona (5-0, 6-3)
- 3-0 vs CSU (6-2, 3-2, 3-0)
- Swept Utah Tournament
- Michigan State 3-2
- Northern Arizona 6-3
- Utah State 2-1
- Weber State 7-1
- 2-0 vs Wyoming (11-2, 5-0)
- A win over Texas A&M 6-5
- Win over Oklahoma 5-3