The University of Delaware ice hockey team earned its first-ever National Championship with a dominating 5-1 victory over Oakland University (Michigan) Wednesday in the ACHA Men’s Division I National Tournament in Strongsville, Ohio.
The second-seeded Blue Hens’ tenacious defense and opportunistic offense held the No. 13 Oakland squad in check all night to take home the Murdoch Trophy for the first time in the team’s nearly 40-year history.
Connor Moore scored two third period goals to secure the victory against a team that defeated top-ranked Penn State 5-3 on the previous evening.
Moore scored at the 8:44 mark to build the Hens lead to 4-0, but the Grizzlies Jordan MacDonald scored at 12:22 to cut the lead to 4-1. Moore then scored on a breakaway with 2:13 remaining in regulation to ice the victory.
Delaware captain, senior Andre Menard, was ecstatic after playing his last game for the Hens.
“We have a great group of guys, and we really came together at the end of the season and in this tournament,” he said. “We’re like a family and we beat a great team because we worked together and we have a great goaltender in S.J. (Broadt).”
Michael Piet opened the scoring at 1:07 of the first period with a nice feed from Jason Michaud to help set the tempo for Delaware. Christian Tasker’s breakaway goal at 13:02 gave the Hens a 2-0 cushion after the first twenty minutes.
“We knew we had to take advantage of every opportunity tonight. I was just in the right place and got a great pass from Jason (Michaud) and Josh Weiner,” said Tasker.
Chris Volonnino scored the lone goal of the second period on a power play, with the assists going to Tasker and Ryan McDonald.
Tournament MVP S.J Broadt turned aside 25 shots from the Grizzlies, while Oakland net minder David Bayer made 26 saves.
“I can’t describe how I feel right now,” said Broadt. “But we beat a great team, so I’m really going to enjoy this tonight.”
Michaud was named to the Tournament First team defense, while Mark Zeszut and Nick Lepore were also named as first-team forwards.
Oakland’s Bryan Baker said he was proud of his team in defeat.
“We worked hard all season and no one expected us to reach the finals,” he said. “We know we have a very good hockey team, but Delaware just outplayed us tonight.”