UD Hockey Wins Its First ACHA Men’s Division I National Championship

The Fightin’ Blue Hens capped off a historic season this past year with a 5-1 victory over Oakland University to win its first ACHA Division I National Championship in the team’s 39 year history. A lot happens between the final buzzer of the season in March 2012 and when training camp began over seven months earlier. Despite what the record showed, the team did have its ups and downs and showed a lot of adversity through various challenges that arose throughout the season.  The team started off the season 16-0-1 with their only loss coming in Overtime to Arizona State University at the ACHA showcase in Springfield, Illinois in early October. With a 2-0 win over Illinois and a statement 6-1 win over Ohio, the Blue Hens gained respect throughout the league after the showcase. In November, the team came up with a big home win against rival Penn State in front of a roaring Fred Rust Arena. The Hens would suffer their first regular season loss to the Icer’s when they traveled to Happy Valley the next evening. The team rebounded from the loss with Delaware winning the next 9 games until experiencing a splitting with the University of Rhode Island (URI) at the end of January.  Delaware finished first in the ESCHL standings with 99 points, which was 35 points ahead of second place URI and also had 5 less games played. However when it came to league playoffs the Hens came out with a very disappointing performance suffering a bad loss in the semi finals and were sent home early.

But Delaware knew there were bigger things ahead. Between the coaching and the veteran leadership, the Hens got right back to work towards the ultimate goal. The much needed week off from scheduled games after league playoffs gave fatigued and injured bodies a chance to heal and for the team to prepare to take on the best teams the ACHA had to offer. The team entered Cleveland, Ohio with a true confidence. They entered the tournament as the #3 seed. Delaware took out #14 Davenport in the first round winning 3-1. The next game would be the team’s biggest challenge of the tournament taking on #6 Ohio. This game was a thriller with each team trading goals the entire game. An first overtime went by with great scoring chances for each team, all being denied.  Shortly into the second overtime the Hens finally got the winner, which would send them to the semi finals winning 5-4 over the Bobcats. This was Delaware’s chance to avenge their loss in the semi finals the previous year against #2 Lindenwood University. However, this time it would be the Blue Hens who would come out on top controlling the game and winning 6-3. The #13 seed Oakland seemed to be the Cinderellastory of the tournament knocking off the top-ranked Penn State in the semi finals. Delaware would make it clear that they would not be the next victim and played hard from the drop of the puck. When the final buzzer went off the scoreboard read UD 5- Oakland 1 and the bench cleared and the fans went wild, as the University of Delaware had won their first national championship in the school’s history.