ANGOLA, IND. -- The Trine men's ACHA D2 hockey team secured a bid to the national championship tournament by appearing as the number two team in the final Central Region rankings of the year, released yesterday.
Holding on to a place in the top two of the regional rankings give the Thunder an automatic bid to the national championship tournament, allowing them to bypass the regional tournament where the next ten ranked teams will compete for the final two bids. The national tournament is hosted in Columbus, Ohio.
Trine fell to second in the rankings following a pair of close wins over Robert Morris (Ill.) this past weekend. On Friday, the Thunder survived a third-period comeback attempt by the opposition with, winning by the score of 3-2. On Saturday, Trine scored three goals in the third period to pull away from Robert Morris (Ill.) by the score of 6-3. With the wins, the Thunder improve to 27-0-2 for the season.
Trine continues to be one of the more prolific offenses in the region, as they average just under eight goals a game on the season. Freshman Brandon Bornkamp (Fort Wayne, Ind.) leads the team with 58 points, 30 assists and 28 goals. Eleven other Thunder skaters have recorded 20 or more points.
In goal, Trine boasts four goalies with goals-against averages under three. Freshman Adam Conkling (Fort Wayne, Ind.) leads the way for the team with a 2.07 goals-against average and a .929 save percentage.
The ACHA D2 national tournament will begin with pool play on starting on Friday, March 9. Should the Thunder finish with the best record in the pool they would move on to the single elimination semi-final taking place on Monday, March 12. The championship game takes place on Tuesday, March 13.
Trine will play in Pool A, which will include the to be determined third seed from the Northeast and fourth seed from the Southwest as well as Northern Arizona, the first seed from the West Region.
The Thunder will travel to Indiana University for a pair of games this weekend to finish off their regular season, before turning their focus to the national championship tournament.