Great Plains Teams Fare Well At 2015 National Collegiate Roller Hockey Championships
LU crowned D3 National ChampionsGPCIHL April 15th, 2015 at 4:50PM April 15th, 2015 11:07PM
Independence, MO – Ten teams represented the Great Plains Collegiate Inline Hockey League (GPCIHL) at the 2015 National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association (NCRHA) National Championships in Independence, MO this past week. With one of those teams bringing home a championship and another finishing as the runner-up.
Illinois State, Kansas State and Saint Louis represented the GPCIHL in division-2. Kansas State was the host team for the event, but it was Illinois State who advanced the furthest in bracket play. The Great Plains division-2 teams struggled at the national championships with a 1-11 record with Kansas State getting the only win against Tennessee by the score of 12-8. Kansas State went 1-2 in pool play, and then fell to UC Santa Cruz 9-4 in the first round of bracket play. Saint Louis went 0-3 in pool play and was defeated 7-5 by Arizona in the first round. The GPCIHL division-2 regional champions Illinois State also went 0-3 in pool play but advanced to the sweet 16 with a bye in the first round. The run would end quickly though as the Redbirds were defeated 11-4 by Cortland.
The Great Plains was well represented in division-1 this year. Bethel, Lindenwood, Missouri State, Mizzou, and UMSL all made the trip to Independence, MO for a chance at a title. Mizzou went 0-3 in pool pay and was eliminated in the first round by UMSL by the score of 10-0. Missouri State looked solid in pool play going 2-1 but was defeated by a very good UNLV team in the sweet 16 by the score of 5-3. Bethel went 2-1 in pool B with their loss coming against the defending national champions Lindenwood University. Bethel advanced to the elite 8 with a close 4-3 victory over Kennesaw State. Bethel then would fall to Cal Poly by the score of 5-2. UMSL was a perfect 3-0 in pool play and also reached the elite 8 with a 5-2 win over Central Florida. UMSL’s run would stop, as they hit a wall against the 2014 runner-ups and #1 seed Neumann University. It was all Neumann in this contest as they would beat UMSL 10-1.
The defending 2014 division-1 national champion Lindenwood University Lions had high expectations as usual but came up just short of a 11th national title. The Lions went 3-0 in pool play and advanced to the finals while outscoring their six opponents 53-9. The division-1 championship game was a rematch of the 2014 national championship as Lindenwood University Lions would take on the Neumann University Knights in a game that did not disappoint. This would be the third meeting this year between these two teams as they split the season series 1-1.
Neumann’s PJ DiMartino would get the scoring started with a powerplay goal just over three minutes into the first period. Each team would exchange scoring chances until Lindenwood’s Matt Sexton got the Lions on the board with a powerplay goal. The tie game didn’t last long though as the Knights Nick Allison scored two minutes later to give Neumann the 2-1 lead going into the second period. Each team would score a powerplay goal in the second period and head into the third with Neumann leading 3-2. The Knights started the scoring again midway through the third period with a goal from Anthony Ehinger to give Neumann the 4-2 lead. The Lions Cory Kettler got Lindenwood within a goal with a shorthanded tally to make the score 4-3. The Lions made a strong push but Neumann held on for their first national championship by defeating Lindenwood University 4-3. Lindenwood had won the past two D1 national titles and have ten D1 national championships in the past 14 years.
With no championships in D1 or D2 a Great Plains national champion would emerge out of division-3. Bethel and Lindenwood represented the region in D3 with Lindenwood University bringing home the national title. Bethel went 3-0 in pool play but ran into a hot goaltender and fell in overtime to Florida Gulf Coast 4-3 in the elite 8. Lindenwood also went 3-0 in pool play and outscored their opponents 39-18 on their way to another national championship. It wouldn’t come easy though as the Lions would take on the Neumann University Knights for the championship.
It was a rough game as both teams would take a combined 48 minutes in penalties. Neumann got the scoring started just over four minutes in with a powerplay goal from Sean Phelan to give the Knights the 1-0 lead. Just over two minutes later, the Lions Kyle Kateman tied it up at 1-1. Neumann responded with three goals in less than two minutes to give the Knights the 4-1 advantage. Each team would exchange powerplay goals late as the score was 5-2 heading into the second period. Lindenwood added two quick powerplay goals early in the second period as teams would exchange scoring chances throughout the period but the Lions were the only ones to capitalize. Lindenwood now trailed Neumann 5-4 going into the third and final period. The Lions Mark Birchall tied the game up at 5-5 just less than five minutes into the period. Neumann then would take a late tripping penalty and Parker Poore and the Lions would capitalize on the powerplay to give Lindenwood their first lead in the game 6-5. The Lions killed off a late penalty and by scoring 4 unanswered goals, Lindenwood University were crowned the 2015 division-3 national champions. This was Lindenwood’s 11th D3 national title in the past 12 years.
The Great Plains Collegiate Roller Hockey League is proud of all the teams that represented our region at the 2015 national championship tournament. You represented our league and your schools with pride and passion. Have a great offseason and we are looking forward to the 2015-2016 college roller hockey season!