Whatever happened to hockey? No, not the sport itself. I’m talking about Gannon hockey, baby! We all love a good hockey story, right? Some good checks, hitting the five hole on the goalie, making him look like a sieve, and everyone’s favorite: a fight. I mean it’s not illegal to fight; it’s frowned upon but they better win because there will be repercussions.
In all seriousness, Gannon had a great season this year with a No. 1 ranking in its division, No. 3 overall and ending the season with a 13-5-6 record. I’d say that is great.
To give a perspective on their postseason play, I got the 4-1-1 from the Rev. Jason Glover, who just happens to be the squad’s head coach.
Coming off a stellar regular season the Knights were seeded No. 1 in the College Hockey East’s playoffs, giving them a first-round bye. Makes sense to me; they played great so they get a break so the other teams have a chance to catch up.
In the semifinals the lads faced the Bearcats of Saint Vincent College. Unfortunately, the Knights lost the game, abruptly ending their season quicker than they had hoped for.
However, Penn State-Altoona showed the Bearcats what it was like after the Lions beat Saint Vincent in the next round to advance to the National Championship Tournament.
Although I’m sure we all would have liked to have seen our team with the championship victory, on the bright side, this year’s performance can only be a sign of good things to come.
Glover mentioned that many of the ties during the regular season came against teams they had never competed against or beaten.
“Overall, I think we had a great season on many levels,” Glover said. “We are now competing in the highest division of College Hockey East.”John “Johnny Hockey” Roberts, that would be Tier 1 of the College Hockey East division.
Another highlight from the season is that the team won the coveted championship trophy at the I-70/71 Tournament hosted by Denison University after the Knights defeated Xavier University in an overtime shootout.
Glover is expecting to open the 2016-17 season with 13-16 returning players; three current players are contemplating grad school and playing next season. That’ll work in the Knights’ favor because the team has chemistry and with that the wins follow.
In terms of the rookies, the team has six coming in with five freshmen and one graduate student. According to Glover, they are in contact with seven additional incoming freshman/potential players.
“If there is anyone else out there with an interest in playing next season, I would love to hear from you,” Glover said.
Glover said the Knights have some great talent returning for next season and he is excited to see what the incoming rookies can offer.
He is hosting them Sunday for some pickup hockey at the Erie Insurance Arena and he is looking forward to meeting them, assessing their talent and maybe getting a few more commitments out of the event.