MIH: Willpower sends Wilkes to the UCHC Championship

Wilkes appeared in one of the most competitive games of the year as it was a chance to get one step closer to the United Collegiate Hockey Conference Championship cup.

In the semifinal game between the Colonels and the Chatham Cougars, Wilkes came out on top and is in the running for the UCHC title with a 5-1 win.

“I am just so proud,” said head coach Tyler Hynes. “We are 37-0 in our games against Pennsylvania teams and that is really tough to do in any sport. I am just very excited that they (the team) get what they deserve and this senior class means everything to me.”

This fast-paced game started with a big Chatham goal by Matthew Doyle at the 17:25 mark of the first period.

Two minutes later Wilkes’ own senior Phil Erickson nailed one in with dirty assists from seniors Tyler Barrow and Devon Schell.

“It is do or die in the playoffs and I was fired up,” said Erickson. “Tyler and Devon made a great play to get the puck to the net and I was lucky enough to be in the right spot to put it home.”

The puck went back and forth between the two aggressive teams and senior Ben Stefanini got a great look at the goal and chipped one in at the 13:08 mark. His goal was assisted by senior Scott Mueller and junior Nick Godfrey.

“The intensity grows each game with your season on the line,” said Stefanini. “ It was a great moment. Phil was able to get the first goal to tie it and then we were able to start rolling from there.”

The period ended with a score of 2-1 in the Colonels’ favor.

Wilkes came out strong in the second period and shut down Chatham.

Senior Tyson Araujo scored 30 seconds into the period with seniors Michael Gurska and Nick Fea assisting. Big defensive stops held Chatham to their solo goal and the penalty kill team was able to continuously gain control of the puck.

“Coach Bombardier did such a great job with our penalty kill squad and we really needed it,” said Hynes after Wilkes was in a penalty match with Chatham. “We did what we needed to do.”

Wilkes was able to chip in two more goals during the third. Graduate student Taylor Brierley scored at 12:54 and Donald Flynn scored with a minute and a half on the clock. The period ended with a 5-1 score.

The third started out chippy as both teams fought for possession of the puck. Fights were breaking out and the referees had to get involved multiple times during this passionate game as Chatham was trying to get something going.

Wilkes’ strong defense and cohesive offense held Chatham off for the final two periods.

Junior goaltender Michael Paterson- Jones ended the game with 34 saves to secure the win.

“This win feels better than any win that I can remember,” said Hynes. “You have to earn it to beat us.”

The Colonels secured their 20th win of the season for the first time in program history.

Wilkes will advance to the UCHC Championship game which will be played against Utica College on Saturday.

The Beacon/Baylee Guedes The Colonels have a group celly after a goal was chipped in by senior Donald Flynn in the second period.