Even after finishing the season with a 4-4 record in
their last eight, the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point men’s hockey team
has clinched two home playoff games.
The Pointers, a three-seed, will play sixth-seed
University of Wisconsin-River Falls in the Northern Collegiate Hockey
Association quarter-final on Friday and Saturday at 7:00 PM at K.B. Willet
“Home ice for us is huge,” said head coach Chris
Brooks. “We have had great crowds at Willett all year, and home is an advantage
that we wanted to be sure of.”
Stevens Point finished the season at 14-10-1, with a
conference record of 8-9-1.
“The team has been up and down for the last month. We
have played some of our best hockey, and other nights we have been average,”
The Pointers did have a rollercoaster finish to the
season, but they know they can’t dwell on the past. They also know they have to
step up their game now.
“I would have liked for us to be more consistent with
our games lately, but now the regular season is over, and we can’t look back,”
said team captain Jerry Freismuth, senior forward. “We are looking forward to
playoffs and playing a more consistent game.”
A common response from the players to the playoff games
was excitement. They want to prove they can play at a high level.
“Playoffs is a different level of hockey, and I think
our team is really excited and ready to get this week of practice going and be
ready to go on Friday night,” said sophomore forward Andrew Kolb.
“I expect it to be a battle,” said sophomore forward
Joshua Daley. “Playoffs are a whole different game. There is no room for error
from either team.”
This season the Pointers have experienced success
because of a collection of players that can get the puck in the net, an element
that last year’s team did not possess.
Kyle Heck, last year’s leading scorer, leads the team
with 12 goals this season, but other players have stepped up to join Heck in
Stevens Point has eight players that have scored at
least six goals and nine players with at least eight assists.
“In order to be successful, selfish behavior cannot be
accepted,” Brooks said. “Our guys have done a good job buying into the team
Therefore, the Pointers look forward to University of
Wisconsin- River Falls, a team that Stevens Point defeated and tied with in
mid- November of this season.
The Falcons finished the season 12-9-2, with a 4-5-3
conference record. Rivers Falls has also hit a rough patch lately, winning only
two of their last eight games.
The Pointers’ expectations have them going past River
Falls. Coach Brooks and his players believe this team has the potential to make
a deep run.
“I think we can make it to the NCAA final four,” Kolb
said. “We can be a real hard team to play against when we have everything rolling
and everyone is on the same page.”
“The sky’s the limit for us,” Daley said. “If we play
our game and execute Coach’s systems well, there is no reason we shouldn’t win
“I have high expectations for our team, and winning the
National Championship is a goal we believe we can achieve,” Freismuth said.