The Alfred State club hockey team capped an impressive season this past weekend by winning the Upstate New York Club Hockey League (UNYCHL) Tier 2 Championship. The championship is the first in school history for the Pioneers.
The Pioneers entered this weekend's UNYCHL Tournament held at the Bill Gray's Iceplex in Henrietta, NY with a 7-0-1 record. The blue & gold defeated Albany College of Pharmacy 4-3 in the semifinals to advance to the championship game.
In the championship contest on Sunday, the Pioneers matched up with St. John Fisher and earned a 3-0 victory. Luke Meyer (Orchard Park) got the Pioneers on the board with a goal in the 1st period. Alfred State spent much of the 2nd period with the man down but was able to keep St. John Fisher scoreless. Jake Wher (Williamsville South) was able to capitalize on a breakaway shorthanded opportunity to make it 2-0 after 40 minutes. Dylan Utz (Williamsville South) scored with less than five minutes to add insurance. Zak McMurray (Franklinville/Ten Broeck Academy) made 42 saves to record his first shutout of the season.
Tim O'Donnell, the head coach of the club hockey team, is excited about his team's accomplishments. "I am so proud of this team; including the players, coaching staff, practice squad, and all of the support from our fans. This team’s work ethic, talent, and camaraderie was something to be admired, and put them above every other team in the league. After 20 years in the making Alfred Hockey can finally say they are undefeated league champions. I can't wait to defend our title come next year.”
The Upstate New York Club Hockey League is an ACHA-affiliated ice hockey league comprising smaller colleges and universities in Upstate New York. The league is based in New York state and has grown to Pennsylvania and Vermont with additions of four schools. The league was founded by Andrew Musto in 2006 with the purpose of creating a league that is a low-cost alternative to higher cost leagues.
The UNYCHL is set up into two Tiers. Tier 1 consists of 21 schools (divided by region) that compete for the UNYCHL championship and an automatic bid to ACHA regionals. All members must comply by ACHA standards.
Tier 2 was established as a place for newer programs to develop along with those who want a place to play with less restrictions. There are currently 10 members of UNYCHL TIER2. They compete amongst themselves for a league championship.