Mar 2, 2006 -- The Fordham University Hockey program did something this past weekend that took 758 games to accomplish. The oldest member of the MCHC finally captured their first league championship with wins over Hofstra and Albany State.
Saturday night's contest against Hofstra seemed to be doomed from the start. Already decimated by injuries, the team took another hit when 2 key players, Matt Pangia and Mike Lynch, were nursing 102 degree temperatures and unable to dress versus the Pride. Despite their absence, the team rallied around a 5-goal effort by Sophomore Jorge Rocha and defeated Hofstra by an 8-5 verdict. Eight minutes into the first period, the Rams struck for the first two goals of the game and never looked back. For the remainder of the game both teams began trading goal for goal, but in the end the Rams prevailed to advance to the championship game for the first time in team history. Junior goalie Joe Wichowksi continued his stellar play in the nets stopping 38 shots.
With Pangia and Lynch back in the lineup on Sunday, the team was optimistic about their chances against the heavily favored Danes of Albany State. The previous night Albany had soundly defeated Fairfield, holding the Stags high-powered offense to no goals in route to an 8-0 shutout. Albany took an early lead with 5 minutes left in the first period on a Scott Sukup goal, but the Rams answered back with a Pangia goal 3 minutes later.
A Josh Charland goal late into the second period put the Danes on top and as both teams approached the midway point of the third period, it looked like the game would come down to the wire. While goalie Wichowski gave his best performance to date, Junior Dave Improta's power play goal with 8 minutes left sent the game into the first ever MCHC championship overtime. The teams traded opportunities in the extra period but at the 12:39 mark Sophomore Mike Lynch got the game winner past Albany State goalie Frank Guiffre giving the Rams their first ever league championship.
Team notes: Wichowski was named playoff MVP...the victories over Hosftra and Albany gave the team a final record of 21-4, the best ever in team history...other records set during the course of the year included best power play defensive percentage (only 10 power play goals allowed in 123 chances), best home record (11-0), and most consecutive wins (9)...Wichowski broke eight records by himself. For his career he broke the records for most minutes played (3419), most games played (68), and most games won (45). For seasonal records he broke records in shutouts (4), goals against average 1.96 (league play), goals against average 2.05 (overall play), best save percentage 93.1 % (league play), and best save percentage 92.6 % (overall play).
To view actions photos from the Championship weekend, please use the links below...
Courtesy of James Bertorelli:
2006 MCHC Championship Game Photo Gallery