The club ice hockey team is once again the champion of the Northeast Collegiate Hockey Association (NECHA) American Conference following their 4-3 victory over Norwich University on Sunday, Feb. 18 at Conway Arena in Nashua, New Hampshire.
The Hawks began the tournament in their own Driscoll Arena in Fall River, Massachusetts with a 12-4 win over the Westfield State University Owls on Thursday. The dominating win earned them a spot in the semifinal.
On Saturday, the Hawks took on Saint Anselm College to earn the right to play in the championship game. The two teams traded goals throughout the game, but RWU took a 3-2 lead in the third when sophomore Will Sauerbrunn tipped in a blast from the blue line. The game tightened when Saint Anselm tied the game with just over five minutes remaining. When the buzzer sounded, the game was still tied at 3. The contest took two overtime periods, but RWU freshman Christian Brinkley chipped in a pass from behind the goal line to steal the game.
The Hawks faced Norwich University in the championship game just a day after their win against Saint Anselm. Sophomore Tyler Poulin started the scoring by tipping in a shot from junior Jay Cobleigh. RWU added another goal from freshman Brian Quinn only a few minutes later for a 2-0 lead.
Norwich notched a goal of their own, but the Hawks took back their two-goal lead on another goal from Poulin — this time on a wrist shot. Norwich refused to let the Hawks run away with the game and put the pressure on with their second goal — closing the gap again. Sophomore Cole Foster gave the Hawks an insurance goal minutes later when he elevated the puck over the sprawling Cadets goaltender.
With just over four minutes left in the third period, Norwich fought back with another goal, heightening the entertainment factor for the fans in the crowd. With their season on the line, Norwich pulled their goalie in hopes to tie the game and a late RWU penalty gave their opponent a six-on-four advantage. The Hawks penalty-kill held strong and kept Norwich off the board, sealing the 4-3 victory. Teammates piled onto starting goaltender junior Marc Frederick while celebrating back-to-back NECHA American Conference championship titles.
“To win a championship isn’t an easy thing to do and our team battled through some adversity in the last few weeks,” said senior captain David Fasano. “ [We] never lost sight of our goal to hold that trophy… Winning this championship for the second year [in a row] is special to us.”