By: Ian Prescott | @C2C_Prescott | April 5th, 2017
Every April is an exciting time for the fans and players of college roller hockey. The culmination of the NCRHA regular season is Selection Monday. Teams who have either won their auto-bids by winning their conference or by amassing enough wins from October to late-February are deemed worthy by the selection committee and awarded a bid to compete at the National Collegiate Roller Hockey Championships. Shortly after the reward comes the work and the week-long chase for a National Championship across four divisions (D1, D2, D3, Junior College). Behind all that hard work is a plethora of storylines to keep an eye out for while watching the games in our premier division this week in Ft. Myers, Florida.
Revenge Is A Dish Best Served…
Understandably, there can be a lot of animosity and rivalry built up over the course of the NCRHA season. Sometimes that animosity can carry over from one year to the next, which makes for some interesting matchups this April.
#3 Neumann University Knights v. #1 Farmingdale State College Rams
The Matchup: The Knights lead the all time head to head series between the two ECRHA foes (8-3-0).
However, the Rams have recently turned the tide, winning the last 3 match-ups including a playoff battle that saw the Rams crowned the ECRHA Division 1 champions. The Rams are the first team in NCRHA history to beat both Lindenwood and Neumann in the same season. However, it’s not to be forgotten the Knights are the 2-time defending NCRHA Division 1 National Champions and are looking to become only the second team to win 3 total DIvision 1 National Championships. They will both be in Pool A this year.
What Should You Watch For?:
- Farmingdale State Head Coach Jim Tamburino steps back onto the bench, leading the Rams to their first ECRHA Division 1 Championship. The last time Tamburino coached, he led the Hofstra University Pride to an ECRHA D1 Championship in 2013-14… over the Neumann Knights.
- This time last year, Luc Corso, PJ DiMartino, and Matthew O’Shaughnessy were lifting the D1 National Championship for the Knights. The threesome who have amassed a collective 141 points (in all competition) took their talents to Farmingdale and combined for 6 points (3G, 3A) in the ECRHA Division 1 Championship game against their old squad.
- The Neumann Knights have played in the last 3 National Championship games, led by First Team All-Tournament goalie Michael Maczynski. Maczynski has now moved to an Assistant Coach position for the Knights, leaving room for goaltender Adam Goggio to fill the net. Goggio is a capable goaltender posting a 2.29 GAA and a .877 Save %. Will Goggio be able to provide the outstanding goaltending necessary for the Knights to 3-peat?
#2 Lindenwood University Lions v. #9 Bethel University Wildcats
The Matchup: The Lions lead the all time head to head series between GPCIHL rivals (14-4-0).
The Bethel Wildcats made a huge splash back in 2011-2012 when they won the NCRHA Division 1 National Championship in their first year playing in Division 1. Since then the Wildcats haven’t been able to make it back to the Championship game. Lindenwood has been the cream of the crop throughout the history of the NCRHA. The Lions have won 10 (Ten!) National Championships since 1998 ( the league’s inaugural season); and have never gone three consecutive years without a Division 1 championship. They will both be in Pool B this year.
What Should You Watch For?:
- Last year in Cedar Rapids, Iowa the Wildcats won a tight 1-0 game against the Lions as Blake Lochhead figuratively and literally stood on his head to stop 46 shots to eliminate the Lions in the Elite 8.
- Lindenwood’s two 40 point scorers are Jalen Krogman and Trenton Matteson, both Missouri born and raised players. They’re looking to restore the luster to the Lindenwood squad. This is important as they’ve been without 2015-2016 leading goal scorer Jacob Turowski all season.
Other Division 1 Storylines:
- #11 UMass-Amherst, #21 Robert Morris University and #19 Western Michigan University are all teams who played Division 2 last year and moved up to Division 1 this season.
- Three of the top five highest scoring teams in the NCRHA are from the ECRHA: Neumann (169), Farmingdale (119) & UMass-Amherst (102). The other two are from the GPCIHL: University of Missouri (116) and the MCRHL: Michigan State University (141)
- #15 Florida Gulf Coast University is the team that has traveled the least distance to the Skatium, 17.7 miles. #12 Cal Poly San Luis Obispo has traveled the farthest, 2,835.5 miles.
- There has been a total of 2244 goals this season scored by all Division 1 teams in regular season play.