BLAINE, Minn. – This past weekend the Trine University men's ACHA D2 hockey team traveled to this year's Central Regional to compete for a spot in the ACHA National Championships. They succeeded in winning two straight games to secure their berth for the second year in a row.
The Thunder received a buy for the first round and took the ice for the first time on Saturday, March 5 when they faced off against the University of Michigan. The Wolverines started the pulled out to an early lead scoring two goals in the first ten minutes of the contest. The Thunder responded in the second half of the period with four goals of their own to take a 4-2.
They would hold the lead for the rest of the contest and finished the game with the 7-3 victory.
Two members of the Thunder recorded multiple goals in the contest. Junior Joe Laskero (Orland Park, Ill.) and sophomore Sean Schirripa (Bethlehem, Pa.) both recorded two goals in the game. Senior Olli Jansson (Oulu, Finland) led the team with three points in the contest including one goal and two assists.
In Trine's second contest of the weekend, the team faced off with a well-known opponent in Davenport University. The two teams have faced off three times this season with the Thunder winning two of those matchups.
In this game, it was the Thunder that took the early lead scoring the first four goals of the first period and allowing just one goal in the final seconds of the period to take a 4-1 lead into the first intermission. While the Panthers would add a goal in the second to pull within two the Thunder finished off the game with a goal in the third for the 5-2 victory.
Trine boasted a balanced offensive attack in the contest with five different members of the team coming up with a goal. Sophomore Christian Wirth-Karbler (Westland, Mich.) led the way for the Thunder finishing with two points including a goal and an assist.
Senior Tyler Hough (Mount Airy, Md.) played both games in net for the Thunder. Against the Wolverines, he finished with 29 saves and then followed it up with a 41 save night against Davenport.
With the pair of wins, the Trine punches their ticket to their second straight ACHA D2 National Tournament. This year they will head to Dallas Texas to start the competition with Pool A play. In the pool portion of the tournament, they will face off with top Northeast Region team the University of Massachusetts, University of Northern Colorado and North Carolina State University.
Their first game comes on Friday, March 22 when they face Northern Colorado in a 10 a.m. CDT contest.