Hockey team defeats Iowa State to win title

Brian Kimmes

Brian Kimmes

SDSU hosted and won the Great Plains Collegiate Hockey Association Tournament this past weekend. The Jacks defeated Carleton College on Friday, Feb. 24, then defeated Iowa State University for the championship on Saturday, Feb. 25.

The Jackrabbits defeated Carleton College, 9-2, in Friday night’a game. All three lines scored for the Jacks, with Chase Mowry leading the Jacks with three goals.

Creighton University and Iowa State battled in the other game Friday night. Iowa State emerged victorious, with a 2-1 overtime victory.

Before the championship game Saturday night, Creighton defeated Carleton, 9-0, to capture third place.

SDSU used their power play to gain an early lead. Ryan Nelson scored after Roy Sando skated the length of the ice and avoided the defense before finding Nelson for the score.

Brian Hermanson also scored on the power play, after Iowa State got one goal back, making the score 3-1, Jacks. Sando capped the scoring in the first period for the Jacks, scoring on a rebound. The Jacks dominated the first period, keeping the puck in the Iowa State zone for most of the period. The Jacks had four goals and Iowa State only had four shots, two of which were from near center ice.

The second period was a more even period, with both teams getting some scoring opportunities. The only scoring came from SDSU’s Cody Lewis, who scored a short-handed goal with a little more than two minutes remaining. The Jackrabbits had a comfortable 5-1 lead heading into the final period.

Iowa State scored first in the third period, tallying their second goal four minutes and 14 seconds into the period. Iowa State fought back and scored the next two goals, closing the gap to one goal.

By netting the Jacks’ sixth goal with just over five minutes to play, Mowry put an end to the Iowa State scoring streak and gave the Jacks a two-goal cushion. Iowa State would erase the cushion in a span of less than 10 seconds. SDSU was on a power play for the last 52 seconds of regulation, but could not avoid overtime.

SDSU committed mistake after mistake and took more penalties in the third period. Head Coach Marty Schipull gave Iowa State credit for taking advantage of the opportunities.

“They played a lot better than what I expected,” he said.

In the overtime period, SDSU dominated. The majority of the action took place in the Iowa State zone. Iowa State only got a few shots on goal before Adam Nelson scored the winning goal on the power play. Nelson got the puck in the corner, spun around the defense and then flipped a backhand past the Iowa State goalie, Jake Rotz.

The Jackrabbits leapt off the bench and stormed the ice in celebration.

Despite giving up five goals in the third period, the Jacks still felt they would win the game.

“We knew if we go out and play our game, we can beat them,” Sando said.

“Coming back onto the ice for overtime, we were pretty confident,” wing Jake Gustafson said.

“In my four years off hockey, I’ve never heard it so quiet between periods. That’s why we dominated the overtime. Everyone was so focused,” said wing Mike Schaub.

Schipull said the only thing he told his team before the overtime was, “It’s another period. Calm down.”

Gustafson was not surprised that Adam Nelson scored the winning goal.

“Adam Nelson was carrying a hot stick coming in,” he said.

The tournament championship concludes a solid season for the Jackrabbits. The team finished with a top-five record in their region, going 18-6-2 on the season and finishing undefeated in their final eight games. The team was the regular season conference champion, as well as the tournament.

“All in all a pretty good season,” Schipull said.

Saturday night’s game ended the hockey careers of Luke Tegels, Pat Deniger and Bill DeBlonk. The team said goodbye to Jon Kotilnek in December. Only losing three players from the championship squad gives the Jacks hope for next year.

“We are looking to return as GPCHA champs,” said Gustafson.

#1.884646:27812923.JPG:HOCKEY01.JPG:The Jackrabbits celebrate on the ice while the fans yell in the stands, after the game-winning goal by Adam Nelson on Saturday night.:Ty Carlson