In its eighth year of existence, Slippery Rock University’s Tier 3 White inline hockey team defeated Penn State University of Beaver in three games to win the Western Pennsylvania Area Collegiate Roller Hockey League Championship.
Inline Hockey Club President Christian Ricketts said that the team has been working together since day one to put together a championship capable team.
“We built the team to win a championship since day one,” Ricketts said. “Most of the guys have played together before so we knew that chemistry was strong going into it. The team was full of heart and determination and that’s what led us to the championship.”
In the championship game of the playoffs, Brandon Erskine scored the game-winning goal while the SRU White team was shorthanded. John Senn also added a goal for SRU to give them a 2-1 victory.
Erskine relived his moment of getting his game winner and said that the game was intense the entire time.
“The game was intense from start to finish,” Erskine said. “We got a penalty and I knew that it was their chance to take the lead. We couldn’t let that happen. I rushed down the sideboards with the puck and then was checked by a defender. I was able to get up and get the puck back off of him, make a move on the goalie and put it in the back of the net. I was in disbelief, because I don’t score often, so it was a miracle.”
Captain Joshua Raibick said that one of his main duties during the season was to keep the team at an even keel and when they had their low points, they had to keep their heads up.
“Being a captain, you have to do your best to keep the team’s emotions in check,” Raibick said. “There are points when the puck doesn’t bounce your way and you can’t get too down.”
In net for the SRU White squad was Austin White who had a 2.40 goals against average in the playoffs, and only allowed one goal by Penn State Beaver in game three of the championship.
Ricketts added that one of the most difficult things for the team to deal with throughout the season was that several players dropped off of the team before the season started.
“We had a few players drop before the season started so they were short a few players,” Ricketts said. “Playing with a short bench can take a toll late in games, but the group was strong and held together well.”
Raibick said that his favorite part of the season was how the team rallied back after a 1-3 start to the season.
“The best part of playing for this team was going from 1-3 to start the season to playing for the championship with a noisy SRU crowd gathered around us,” Raibick said.
The inline hockey club is the largest club sport on SRU’s campus and the biggest inline hockey club on the east coast with over 60 members in the organization.
The entire club consists of five teams that play in three different divisions.
The Green and White travelling team made it to the National Elite-8 last season where they lost to the University of Southern California.