Successful hockey season prepares team for future NCAA competition
The Aurora University hockey team concluded its 2013-2014 season last week by defeating the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) 9-3 in the final pool play contest of the 2014 American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) National Tournament. The Spartan Hockey team advanced to the program’s first American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) Division III National Tournament after going two for two at the ACHA Division III Pacific Regional in February.
“I am extremely proud of what this group has accomplished both for the program and the university,” said Head Coach Ryan Buchanan. “Two years ago we didn’t have players, a home rink or uniforms. To go from that to having the opportunity to compete at nationals has been a great experience. The support we have received from the campus community is second to none.”
“Going to nationals was a major accomplishment,” said freshman defenseman Ben Stachowiak. “Throughout the season, we’ve seen improvement in everyone and it showed in the opportunity to represent AU and be a part of the top 16 teams in the nation. We are already hitting the gym and preparing for another great season next year.”
AU finished 1-2 in pool play at the ACHA Nationals and wrapped up the 2013-2014 season with a 36-4-1 overall record. Beginning in the 2014-2015 season, AU will have a varsity team competing in the NCAA Division III as part of the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association (conference) while the junior varsity team will continue to play in the ACHA.
“I am excited for what the future holds as we look to continue to build this program, both at the NCAA and ACHA levels,” said Buchanan. “The jump to the NCAA division three level will be a challenging one, but we look forward to the competition that lies ahead.”