Sault College Cougars have arrived in Dallas, Texas for the Division 3, American Collegiate Hockey Association national men’s championship tournament.
Sault College is the no. 1 ranked team in the 20-member North Division. The national tournament will wind up on Saturday of this week.
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 season including a 19-2-1 mark in road games. Through its 26 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 granted it a move up to the Division 2 level from Division 3 effective the 2019-2020 season.
Cougars head coach Mike Hall did not attempt to down play the success of the Sault College men’s hockey program.
“To be able to do this in our first full season as members of the ACHA speaks volumes about our players and our program. It has been a lot of hard work that has been put in by the men over the course of the season,” said Hall.
In all, there are 16 teams from the ACHA who are competing for national championship honours in Dallas — four schools from each of the North Division, South Division, Atlantic Division and Pacific Division.
Meanwhile, Sault College forward Austin Rowe said the 2018-2019 season has been “awesome for us as a new program. It has been a great season. We have good players and we have good strategies from Coach Hall.”
Rowe, formerly of the Soo Eagles of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League and one of several Sault Ste. Marie area products on the Cougars, finished fifth in team scoring during the 2018-2019 regular season with 26 goals, 21 assists, 47 points.
Ahead of Rowe, from first to fourth on the Sault College scoring chart, are ACHA most valuable player Ryan Vendramin with amazing totals of 55 goals, 41 assists, 96 points followed by Max Khull with 15-54-69 numbers, Mark Tassone with 14-37-51 statistics and defenseman Andrew Barbeau with 22-27-49 figures.
Khull, with the Blind River Beavers and Tassone, with the Soo Thunderbirds, also skated in the NOJHL in previous seasons.
PHOTO: Sault College scoring leader Ryan Vendramin. (Photo by Bob Davies.)