Ice Hockey ECCHA Championship
By Daniel R. Puryear on Aug. 15, 2019
On February 16, 2019 the Men’s Ice Hockey Club at VCU won the 2018 - 2019 East Coast Collegiate Hockey Association (ECCHA) Atlantic Conference Championship
In the 2017-2018 campaign, the club went through the year with a roster of seven players and won only three games. According to club coach Mike Fischer, “Our heads were down after almost every game, frustrated by the fact that our record was not because of a lack of skill, but only from a lack of manpower. However, we learned to play with heart, determination, and as a unit; key disciplines that would contribute to our success this season.”
The club picked up a few skilled players during the offseason, expanding the team from seven to thirteen players. Because of the additional players, they knew this season would be different. Everyone was committed to putting in the work at practice that would lead to success in games. Early in the season, it was clear the team had better chemistry and greater skill than most of their opponents. They played as a unit and played with heart until the end of every game. The determination of both coaches and fans kept the spirit alive throughout the whole season. The club wanted nothing more than to finally bring home the title that the program had long been working towards. Throughout the 2018-2019 season, the club went undefeated in divisional play and brought home VCU’s first title in ten years.
VCU Ice Hockey came into playoffs as the number one seed after going undefeated in the division. However, the playoffs were single elimination, so one game determined everything. “We knew that, because we were the one seed, teams were going to give us their best shot,” Coach Fischer said. “Both playoff games were hands down the hardest games we had played all season, but we knew that if we gave it everything we had and played as a team, we were coming home as champions.”
The Rams ended up defeating Radford University, 5-4, in the semifinals, which ended in a shootout. “Our goalie stopped all five of their shooters, with the last save being one of the best I have ever seen.” Fischer declared. The next day VCU defeated The Citadel, 6-4, in the championship game. Said Fischer, “This team played with passion, with heart, and with soul...they came together as a unit and believed in each other.”