Front Row Shane Brudnok
Kneeling (L-R) Cam Ekiert, Adam Ferguson, Roman Lauff, Will Kohler, Tyler Nrinton, Sam Englehart.
Standing (L-R) Brett Martz, Anthony Hogeback, Riley Fagan, Sam Paquin, Cam Roth, Brian Pustay, Willy Webster, Cam Good, Eli Reith, Mike Ziemianski, Bob, Martz, Tom Holowaty.
Polar Bearcats End Season with NCHA Final Four Appearance
The amazing 2015-2016 season saw the Polar Bearcats make it to the “Final Four” of the NCHA Tournament in Columbus, Ohio. Down to only 11 skaters, the team displayed an incredible desire to compete as it had to play four contests in less than 48 hours.
Not ready for a very deep University of Buffalo Team, SVC played the eventual tournament winner to a 2-2 tie at the end of the first period on goals by Cam Roth and Bryan Pustay, but faltered the rest of the contest to drop the decision 10-3.
The middle two games saw very different results for the Green and Gold. Lining up against the Otterbein Cardinals, in a hard fought well contested and physical match, Adam Ferguson scored the first two SVC markers with Cam Good adding power play tally in the second. Holding a 3-1 lead going into the third, a stubborn Otterbein had two power play markers in a see-saw third frame. These scores were countered with Saint Vincent goals by Bryan Pustay and Sam Paquin. The single goal difference gave the Cardinals an opportunity to put a 6’th attacker on the ice and Saint Vincent hockey history was made. On a dump into the zone SVC net-minder Shane Brudnok gathered the puck, stick handled into position and shot the puck the length of the ice for a goal and his second point of the game giving Saint Vincent the two goal cushion that remained until time expired and a 6-4 victory.
The third contest came against the California Lutheran Knights. Even though though the West Coast School had to dress a player in goal to relieve their injured starter, the schools kept trading tallies. Every time SVC scored the Knights quickly answered. Their reserve goalie played well enough to given Cal Luthern the opportunity it needed but SVC took advantage of some aggressive play by the Knights D to capitalize on break-aways and odd man breaks to manage the game to a one goal St. Vincent lead until Roman Lauff scored in close to provide a two goal cushion. The 7-3 win placed SVC into a final four match up against Penn State Altoona, a team that SVC did not beat in three previous attempts during the regular season and the finals of league playoffs.
The Polar Bearcats shocked Altoona with smart positional play early in the match and frustrated the Lions creating a 2-2 tie well into the first period. Coach Martz bolstered the second line by running 3 D and moved defenseman Eli Reith into a second center position. Realizing SVC had the better of the play, Altoona started to run the SVC players and the officiating crew of Kelly, Stahlwell, and Caldwell soon lost control of the game. They started stacking penalties against SVC for minor infractions and permitted Altoona to hit high, failing to call clear infractions. The rough play took its toll. As long as SVC stayed 5:5, even with depleted numbers, the game remained even. But with several 5:3 advantages Penn State was able to push 5 power play goals into the net. Then midway into the 3’rd period, Eli Reith, while killing a penalty chasing a puck through center ice, received a horrible hit to the head by an Altoona player. The officiating crew deliberated for more than 10 minutes while Eli was attended to on the ice and eventually carried off by an ambulance stretcher. They assessed a match and game disqualification penalty to the Altoona player, but it was way too late. SVC lost 7-2.
Regardless that the team lost in the semi-finals, the tournament appearance can only be seen as a remarkable achievement for Coach Martz and this terrific group of 11 skaters and 1 goaltender. The line of Pustay, Ferguson and Paquin dominated when the game was played at 5:5 or on the power play. The second line had great contributions as Cam Roth had the opening goal of the entire tournament and added several helpers. His line mates, Cam Eikert, 3 assists, and Roman Lauff, 2 goals 2 assists, played at or beyond expectations. The defense likewise supported scoring with multiple point games turned in by both Sam Engelhart and Eli Reith, while Captain Tyler Brinton and Cam Good were incredibly consistent. It was the last game for Willy Webster who played in every game in the tournament. And not to be outdone, Shane Brudnok delighted everyone with his puckhandling and scoring, without yet mentioning that he saw a combined 155 shots in only 4 games.
Thanks to all of the families and fans that traveled to see the contests and to former players Adam Golian C’15 and John Konfala C’81 who also appeared to support their alma mater.
NCHA Tournament Schedule Announced
The National Collegiate Hockey Association has published the opening day schedule for its National Tournament. SVC’s first game will be played at 8:00 AM on Friday, March 18 against the University of Buffalo Bulls. Their second match will be at 1:00 PM the same day against the Otterbein Cardinals. Exact playing times for the second day will depend on the outcome of the first day’s play.
The tournament will be held at the Lou & Gib Reese Ice Arena, 936 Sharon Valley Road, Newark, OH, 43055. The rink may be contacted at 740-349-6784 and has the web site www.reeseicearena.com.
SVC Polarbearcats Invited to NCHA National Tournament
The Saint Vincent Hockey Team has been rewarded for an outstanding 15-5-1 record with an at large bid to the National Collegiate Hockey Association National Tournament. Though dropping the CHE Open League final to Penn State Altoona, the Green and Gold excelled through the regular season and playoffs in spite of injuries that significantly impacted its season. Games will be played the weekend of March 19. The exact schedule is pending.
Courageous Cats Bested in Finals
A depleted Saint Vincent ice squad ran out of gas and could not continue an impressive playoff run, dropping the CHE Open League final to Penn State Altoona by a 5-2 mark. With three games in 3 nights, down to 3 defenders and 5 regular forwards and with goaltender Shane Brudnok playing through an injury, Altoona went up 2-0 at the end of the first period. SVC made it a 2-1 game in the second and got it close again at 4-2, but did not have the legs to finish. Sam Paquin had both tallies while Pustay and Ferguson each collected an assist. Brudnok faced 61 shots in the defeat.
The squad finished with a combined season record of 15-5-1 under Coach Brett Martz while GM Tom Holowaty waits for a call for a potential shot at Nationals.
SVC Hockey Team in Championship against Penn State Altoona!
SVC faces off at 9:10 PM against Penn State Altoona Sunday evening at the Center Ice Arena in Delmont for the CHE Open League Championship match.
The Polarbearcats defeated Gannon 12-2 the night before to qualify for the opportunity to play PSU Altoona the #1 ranked team in the conference. In spite of two previously close games with Gannon, a 2-2 road tie and a 3-2 home victory, St. Vincent exploded for goals in every frame against The Gannon Knights. Bryan Pustay collected 9 points on 5 goals and 4 assists while Sam Paquin notched 4 goals as well. SVC collected 6 power play and 1 shorthanded tallies as Gannon continually put itself into unworkable situations with penalties. SVC was outshot 46 to 27 in the match as Shane Brudnok turned away 44 in the win.
Polarbearcats advance to semi-finals!
SVC bested Daemen 7-1 to advance to the CHE Open Division Semi-finals against Gannon. St. Vincent came out fast and never looked back in spite of a depleted line up and a strong 2’nd period effort by Daemen. Several players had multiple point games as scoring was spread throughout the line. Goaltender Shane Brudnok not only collected 2 assists but also put a shot on goal in the third period.
SVC has a win and a tie against Gannon this season in two evenly matched contests. Game face off is 8:10 PM at the Center Ice Arena in Delmont.
2015-2016 Team Takes 13-4-1 Mark into the Playoffs
The Polarbearcats will face off against Daemen College Friday evening, February 26, in first round playoff action. The game starts at 10:10 PM at the Center Ice Arena in Delmont.
Polarbearcats close out a 13-4-1 season with two victories.
The Polarbearcats closed out the regular season with two victories over the past week-end with a 5-2 Friday night road victory against W&J and a 5-1 win over Cal U at home in the final regular season contest. Both games followed similar scripts with the opposing teams’ net minders proving difficult to solve in the early going and Saint Vincent rallying late to put each game out of reach by the late stages of the 3’rd period.
W&J was outshot by a 53 to 21 margin but held the score at 2-1 into the 3’rd period as goals by Adam Ferguson in the first and Sam Paquin in the second staked the Green and Gold to a lead going into the final period. Roman Lauff tallied the game winner midway through the final frame and insurance goals were added by Brian Pustay and Ferguson’s second of the game.
The Cal U game may have been the most exciting match of the year as the stands were packed with fans recognizing seniors Cam Roth, Brian Pustay, Sam Engelhart and Willie Webster. SVC dominated the first period outshooting the Vulcans 16-7, but the opposing goaltender played a strong positional game holding SVC off the board until a 4:4 marker was placed in the net by Adam Ferguson. SVC had to kill several penalties, including two abbreviated 5:3 advantages for the visitors and held a slim 1-0 lead going into the 3’rd period. Relief finally came when Cam Roth ripped a shot from the slot on a deft feed from Roman Lauff. The flood gates then opened as Sam Paquin and Adam Ferguson scored. Then on the most exciting goal of the game, three seniors, Cam Roth, Willy Webster and Brian Pustay teamed up to spring Brian down the right side as he laced a rising shot past the Cal U goalie for his 50’th career goal and 100’th career point. Shane Brudnok played his usual solid net, often times acting as a 3’rd defenseman with long clearing passes, his shutout bid spoiled by a late Cal tally. With the win Shane became the the 5th goaltender in school history to hit the 20 win mark, tying Ken Glinka, C’76.
Ending with a 13-4-1 record, the team now waits for playoff seeding and hopes for an at large bid to the NCHA National Tournament.