Sparked by scoring sensation and tournament most valuable player Ryan Vendramin, Sault College Cougars put an exclamation mark on a remarkable season by winning the Division 3, American Collegiate Hockey Association championship.
Sault College routed the Grand Valley State University Lakers 12-3 in Saturday’s title tilt in Dallas, Texas.
As the only Canadian-based team at the Division 3 level, Sault College has thus become the first squad from Canada to take home the ACHA championship crown.
It is quite the feat for Sault College, which is in its first season as full-fledged members of the ACHA. Not only that, as the only Canadian school, Sault College had to play 22 of its 26 games during the 2018-2019 regular season away from home.
In all, the Cougars posted a 23-2-1 record over the course of the 2018-2019 regular season including a 19-2-1 mark in road games. Through its 26 regular-season games, Sault College out-scored its opponents by a resounding 227 to 79 margin.
So successful in such a short period of time has the men’s hockey program at Sault College been that the ACHA has already granted it a move up to the Division 2 level from Division 3 effective the 2019-2020 season.
As for the resounding victory in the ACHA championship game against Grand Valley State, Vendramin scored four goals and added four assists to cap a productive tournament.
In all, Vendramin, who is the captain of the Cougars, had 13 goals, 7 assists, 20 points as Sault College won all five of its games to skate to ACHA national championship glory.
A Sault Ste. Marie product, the 23-year old Vendramin is a Police Foundations major at Sault College and former Ontario Hockey League draft pick of the Sarnia Sting.
Meanwhile, Sault College head coach Mike Hall called the championship win for the Cougars “pretty amazing.
“To go 5-0 and not lose a game is pretty special. I am pretty excited for the men,” Hall told Hockey News North.
“To give you an example of well we skated, our penalty kill was 100 per cent over the five games, which we were told is something that has never been done before,” Hall added.
“In all, I am super excited for the men and for Sault College as a school,” summed up Hall, who in a prior gig as coach of the Soo North Stars of the Great North Midget Hockey League, won numerous championships, including provincial titles.
PHOTO: Ryan Vendramin of the national champion Sault College Cougars. (Photo by Bob Davies.)