The KSU ice hockey team played the Davenport University Panthers in the quarterfinals of the Division 3 National Ice Hockey Tournament Thursday.
Winner of the game clinched Pool C and advanced to the semifinals of the tournament.
The Owls swiftly skated across the ice calm and collected in the first and second period of the game. From the third period and forward they became physically drained.
The Panthers were out to a solid 2-0 lead in the first period of the game. As the second period began KSU found a spark and would not let off of the gas pedal.
With lighting quick agility, the Owls’ shooters shot the puck across the rink. The Owls scored four goals in four minutes. Shortly following, KSU added to their comeback with another goal on the scoreboard.
The score was 5-3 with 10:07 in the third period, but the Panthers were not ready to throw in the towel. Davenport freshman Brandon Burton scored on two assists from teammates Jake Otto and Donald Sund. With right under five minutes remaining, Davenport senior Jordan Stegar shot a goal that slid into KSU’s net evening the score 5-5.
Despite the opportunity for a berth in the semifinals, the Owls fell victim of fatigue due to the lack of depth on their bench.
Kennesaw State University’s Ice Hockey Head Coach Barry Dreger commented on KSU’s curse.
“It wasn’t a question of breaking down it was just we ran out of gas literally,” Dreger said.
After a back and forth three periods, the teams entered overtime.
Advancing to the semi finals only required a tie, but KSU still could not manage. Already having an incredible game, Panther freshman Donald Sund found a hole in KSU’s defense and ended the game with a shot into the net.
Davenport clinched Pool C and moved on to the semifinals. KSU left the tournament dumbfounded, ending an incredible season.
“To take away from the game my biggest thing is I am really proud of the growth and development of our team at the division 3 level. We improved over the weekend tremendously. The team had tremendous buy into our system which is exciting for next year,” Dreger said.
The team will lose a couple key players next season, but still expects to see improvement and success in the future.
“We are going to lose one or two key people, but we are going to maintain a large nucleus from this program. We are looking forward to next year being an even better season for us,” Dreger said.
It is still unknown what new additions will be made for the team next year, but it is expected to have teams from the United States and overseas.
“It is too early to tell what our talent will be next year. We are going to have of shooters from Canada because of a program that has reached out to us. It is an encouraging sign for our program,” Dreger said.
The Owls do not enter the off season questioning the quarterfinals. They enter the offseason open minded and anxious for next year’s season.