With major injuries to five starters playing a key role in the outcome, Montclair State University’s men’s hockey team was forced into an early exit from the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) Division II National Tournament which ended March 19 in San Jose, California.
The Red Hawks came out flying and played well against their first opponent—and eventual tournament finalist—Michigan State University until Montclair State’s leading goal scorer, freshman John Hero, and junior Drew Moore both suffered concussions and were taken out of the game. Michigan State took advantage of the situation and downed the Red Hawks by a score of 6 - 2.
The team’s second game against Florida Gulf Coast University turned out similarly with yet another player, freshman Brian Manning, suffering a concussion and being unable to continue. The game ended in a 6 - 1 loss for Montclair State.
Already down key three players, the Red Hawks fought bravely in their third—and ultimately final—game against tournament hosts San Jose State, but once again were thwarted by injuries as assistant captain, junior John Tully, went out with a concussion and sophomore Kevin Tempsick exited with an injured shoulder. San Jose State won the game 3 – 0 and Montclair State was eliminated from the tournament.
“What can you do?” said Associate Head Coach Robbie Martinez about the outcome. “Yes we would have liked to have won a game, or three, but playing injured and patching holes is difficult.”
Although disappointed by the outcome of the tournament, Martinez is optimistic about the hockey team’s future. Only one member of the team will be graduating this year so most of the current team will be back for next season.
Although the Red Hawks did not advance in the tournament this year, they can be proud of the fact that they made it there, and for the second year in a row, became one of the top 16 teams in the nation.
Congratulations to all the players and coaches of the men’s hockey team for a tremendous season!
Read more about the hockey team at their Web site.