Wed. Jan 26th, 2022

CHA title they won as a result of their outstanding record, West Chester hosted the ECHA tournament as the number one seed at Ice Line Arena in West Chester. Despite making it to the championship game against the University of Rhode Island, the Golden Rams fell short in a display that disappointed the West Chester faithful as well as the Golden Ram’s themselves. They knew what they showed on the ice for the 60 minutes against Rhode Island, was not the same team who earned their way to number 10 spot in the country. By hosting the ECHA tournament as the number one seed, West Chester was in the unfamiliar position of being the favorite to win, as opposed to the label of underdog, which the Golden Rams so stoically embraced and thrived with through-out the season. This type of added pressure could have been one of the reasons West Chester struggled throughout the tournament and caused them to stray from the style of play that got them to this point.

On Saturday, West Chester faced last year’s ECHA tournament champion Drexel Dragons, in what was a unsettlingly close game. Though West Chester downed the Dragons, 4-2, it was hardly the convincing win many expected considering the level of play both teams were entering the tournament with. The Golden Rams needed an empty net goal at the end of the game to finally distance themselves from a Drexel team who desperately wanted to defend their title.

The win against Drexel put West Chester in the championship game against the likely University of Rhode Island, who breezed through their second round game against the Naval Academy, 6-1.

The first period ended scoreless, with the University of Rhode Island having the better of the play, peppering West Chester goalie Corey Hackney often, leaving West Chester unable to apply any sustained pressure.

The inability to counter the constant Rhode Island pressure, combined with mental mistakes that led to URI power plays, eventually cost the Golden Rams in the second period. They gave up two goals and struggled to find any offense, in what appeared to be the beginning of the end for West Chester’s championship hopes.

But much like they have been doing all season long, the Golden Rams fought back in the third period, and with a second wind broke the Rhode Island shutout making the game 2-1, and placing all the momentum in West Chester’s hands. As the third period winded down, West Chester did all they could to tie the game but fell short as URI finalized the score with the empty net goal, making it 3-1, and giving the University of Rhode Island the ECHA championship.

Though the loss to Rhode Island is difficult and tough to swallow for the Golden Rams, it is not the end of the season. Despite playing poorly in the tournament, West Chester’s “mediocre” play still gave the number #4 ranked University of Rhode Island a run for their money.

“Losing the ECHA Championship game hurt, I think the guys realized we didn’t play our best 60 minutes. As a team, we know when we play a complete game we can play with anyone.”

Commented West Chester’s captain Rob Troxell following the loss.

Even with the loss of the ECHA, the curtain is not closed for the Golden Rams, who have a shot to redeem themselves on the national stage next week at the ACHA tournament, hosted by Kent State University, in Ohio.

West Chester will play a scorching Iowa State team, who is entering the national tournament with wins over the number #2 and number #3 ranked team in the country, Ohio University and the University of Illinois. Although drawing such a hot team in the first round is usually a bad sign, its not a problem for WCU who looks to march through the bracket, from the 10th seed.

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