Illini skate past Drexel in first round
The Illini open the ACHA National Tournament with a 4-1 win over the Dragons
Thursday, March 9, 2017 / 1:16 PM
Credit: ACHA

The American Collegiate Hockey Association’s 2017 National Championships are underway with Day 1 completed.

The 2017 ACHA National Championships kicked off with University of Illinois defeating Drexel University 4-1 Thursday morning at the OhioHealth Chiller Ice Rink – Easton. Senior goaltender Joe Olen stopped 22 of 23 shots on goal as the Fighting Illini had four different scorers, including freshan Robert Ernsting who had a pair of assists, to help advance to the next round. Illinois jumped to a 2-0 lead with goals by Senior Eric Saulters and Charley Salk before Drexel’s Dylan Hart broke Olen’s shutout bid at 15:15 in the second period. Freshman Luke Forfar scored a power-play goal with 19 seconds remaining in the game before David Kellner scored an empty-net goal six seconds later to solidify the win. The Fighting Illini face fourth-ranked University of Central Oklahoma Friday, March 10 at 11:30 Eastern. [Box Score]

Game two saw the first overtime game of the tournament with the University of Oklahoma defeating the University of Pittsburgh 3-2 at the OhioHealth Ice Haus at Nationwide Arena—home of the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets. The Sooners jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first period scoring a power-play goal by Kale Erickson at 9:51 and a goal by Aharon Lara before Pittsburgh evened the score at two after two periods with goals by Panthers forwards Jd Oddi and Jonathan Kashmere at 14:07 and 15:37 respectively. Oklahoma defenseman Jackson Giammona, the leading scorer for the day along with Erickson, scored the game-winning goal at 3:30 in overtime to advance the Sooners to Friday’s game against the University of Ohio. Game time is scheduled for 2 p.m. Eastern. [Box Score]

Game three between Syracuse University and Midland University had the crowd on the edge of their seats as Midland edged out a 4-3 victory at the OhioHealth Ice Haus. Midland’s Blake Ortman, Bradee Thompson and Luke Sanko led the team with two points (1g, 1a) each and Syracuse had seven players each recording a point. Both Syracuse and Midland traded a pair of goals in the first period as the Orange captured the first goal of the game at 6:43 as Owen Herrington assisted on Peter Owen Hayward’s goal. Midland quickly responded back at 8:54 with a goal from Luke Sanko. Syracuse’s Connor McNamara gave the Orange a 2-1 lead with less than five minutes remaining in the first before the Warriors knotted the score at two a minute and eight seconds later. In the second period, Syracuse and Midland traded goals again, scoring just 17 seconds apart. Jake Mullendore’s power-play goal at 10:49 in the third period proved to be the game-winning goal, with Blair Seitz and Blake Neumann assisting. Midland will face second-ranked Adrian College Friday at 5 p.m. Eastern. [Box Score]

The final game of the night featured Colorado State University facing the red-hot Liberty University, who entered the tournament with a 10-game win streak.  Colorado State, who was a last minute entry into the tournament after University of Delaware withdrew, proved they were tournament worthy by defeating the Flames 4-2 at the OhioHealth Ice Haus. The Rams jumped out to a 2-0 lead at the 4:48 mark in the second period. Jared Southwell scored his first goal of the evening at 14:48 in the first period and William Neff scored a power-play goal at 4:58 in the second before Liberty’s Brock Thompson brought the Flames within one with less than two minutes remaining in the second period. Colorado State’s Southwell tallied his second goal of the evening, and eventual game-winner, midway through the third before both teams traded goals within the last three minutes of the game. Liberty’s Zane Schartz, with an extra attacker, scored a power-play goal at 17:11 to bring the Flames within one at 3-2 before Austin Ansay scored an unassisted goal 54 seconds later. [Box Score]

Presented by the Greater Columbus Sports Commission, Columbus Blue Jackets, and OhioHealth Chiller Ice Rinks at the OhioHealth Ice Haus, the ACHA National Championships will feature more than 1,600 players from 80 of the nation’s best men’s and women’s college hockey club teams. More than 100 games will be played across Columbus at the OhioHealth Chiller Ice Rinks (Dublin, Easton and North) and the OhioHealth Ice Haus at Nationwide Arena, home of the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets.

Please visit for additional  information about the ACHA National Championship, including ticket info, sponsorship, hotel, venue information and more.