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Roller Hockey falls into Epic 3OT National Finals

Roller Hockey falls into Epic 3OT National Finals

 


Roller hockey fell 2-1 to Grand Canyon University in an epic three-overtime battle in the finals of the National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association (NCRHA) championship on April 20 at Norwegian Savings Bank Arena in Auburn, Maine.

In a rematch of a pool match earlier this week, the Lions jumped ahead of the Lopes late in the first period when Jackson Wozniak And Nathan Durrans set up Christian Acosta on the power play at 10:18. That would prove to be the only Lindenwood goal as GCU goalkeeper Maxim Currie emerged as the story of the match.

After sending six shots on net in the opening frame, the Lions put 11 shots on goal in the second but were denied each time. Meanwhile, Lindenwood was called for hooking at 7:35 and that proved to be a key moment as the Lopes tied the game at 1-1 with four seconds remaining on the power play.

The Lions continued to bombard the GCU netminder with another 13 shots in the third, but couldn't get the puck past him, but solid Lindenwood defense and goaltending also kept the Lopes from scoring, so at the end of the regulations, the score was still equal.

The playoffs are played in full overtime, so the two teams essentially started a fourth period unless someone scores. The Lions attack continued to work, putting nine shots on target, but Currie defended them all. Twelve more minutes passed without a goal being scored, so a second extra period was played.

Lindenwood really put pressure on GCU in the frame, outscoring the Lopes 14-2 in the period. The Lions had a great opportunity to end the game when Grand Canyon was called for cross-checking at 5:18, but again the horn remained silent. Ultimately, a third extension was necessary. Lindenwood quickly put two shots on net in the opening moments, but the Lopes countered and the lone shot they made proved to be the game winner at 2:47. After almost 63 minutes of hockey, Grand Canyon outlasted the Lions 2-1.

Lindenwood defeated the Lopes 55-20 and Marky Hager stopped 18 of the 20 shots he faced in a losing effort, while Currie deflected 54 of the 55 shots he faced for GCU. The Lions went 1/2 on the power play, while the Lopes scored on their only power play opportunity.

After entering the NCRHA Championships with a perfect 16-0 mark in collegiate play and a run of two straight titles, roller hockey concludes the 2023-2024 campaign with a 10-0 mark in the Midwest Collegiate Roller Hockey League (MCRHL) and an overall record of 21-1.

Lindenwood dominated through pool play and into the quarter-finals and semi-finals of the Championship, conceding just one goal in five matches.

Pool play started on Wednesday when the Lions recorded a 10-0 victory over Rowan, outscoring the Profs 36-5. Lindenwood scored four in the first, then added three more in each of the final two periods. Chase Christopher stopped all five shots he saw on goal. Bennett Blake earned Star No. 1 award with two goals and an assist, Clayton Liefeld was named Star No. 2 with two goals and an assist, and Durrans was awarded Star No. 3 recognition with a goal and two assists. Wozniak also scored twice and other goals were scored as well Parker Winkelman, Jack WedoskiAnd Landon Cooker.

The Lions continued pool play on Thursday with two more shutouts, 13-0 against Farmingdale State College and 12-0 against Arizona State University.

Lindenwood outscored the Rams 36-1 with four goals in each of the first two periods, and another five in the third. Hager stopped the only shot he faced to earn the victory. Wedoski earned Star No. 1 award with five goals, Connor Bradley got Star No. 2 recognition with two goals and an assist, and Wozniak became Star No. 3 named with a goal and two assists. Acosta scored twice and other goals came from Winkelmann, Brett Worsterand Dylan Sullivan.

The Lions defeated the Sun Devils 43-13 while scoring five goals in the first, including one short-handed, three in the second and four in the third. Christopher stopped all thirteen shots he faced on goal. Wozniak earned Star No. 1 award with five goals and an assist, Liefeld received Star No. 2 recognition with two goals and three assists, and Bradley became Star No. 3 named with six assists.

Lindenwood completed pool play Friday with a 4-1 win over Grand Canyon. The Lions' special teams proved to be the difference as they scored twice on the power play and once short-handed, outscoring the Lopes 26-13 in the game as Hager stopped 12 of the 13 shots he faced to achieve victory on goal.

Perhaps foreshadowing what would happen in the final, neither team scored in the opening period, but Lindenwood lit the lamp twice in the second and twice in the third, while yielding just once in the second. Durrans earned Star No. 1 award with two goals and an assist, Bradley became Star No. 2 with a goal and assist, and Acosta became Star No. 3 named with two assists.

With a perfect 4-0 mark in the pool, the Lions advanced to a semifinal against Henry Ford Community College on Saturday morning and recorded an 8-0 victory. Lindenwood defeated the Hawks 45-1, with Christopher making a save on the only shot he faced. The Lions started quickly with four in the first, then added one in the second and three more in the third. Kooker earned Star No. 1 award with two goals and an assist, Wozniak became Star No. 2 with four assists, and Acosta was awarded Star No. 3 recognition with a goal and assist.

Photo credit: Don Adams Jr.

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