Lindenwood University Claims Fourth ACHA Men’s Division I National Championship
MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Mo. – (March 15, 2022) – Top-ranked Lindenwood University won the 2022 ACHA Men’s Division I National Championship 8-3 over University of Central Oklahoma on Tuesday night at the Centene Community Ice Center in Maryland Heights, Mo.
After a Bronchos penalty, David Gagnon (Caleb Price, Kyle Jeffers) made it 1-0 with a one-timer over the shoulders of goalie Benjamin Kelsch at the 9:23 mark. Lindenwood increased its advantage to 2-0 when Jackson Wozniak (Hayden Ursulak, Ryan Finnegan) buried a backdoor rebound into an open net at 11:21.
It looked like the Lions were taking control of the contest, but Central Oklahoma had other ideas and tied the game late in the period. The first goal came when the Bronchos fired the puck towards the right side of Lindenwood goalie Trent Burnham. Vitalii Mikhailov (Justin-Cole Dubecky, Adam Stalzer) was waiting with his stick on the ice to tip the puck into the net on a nice set-up at 16:23 from. Central Oklahoma tied the game at 2-2 with just 1:54 remaining when the Bronchos created traffic in front of Burnham and Stalzer (Mikhailov, Davin Burton) slipped the puck through the five-hole and it trickled past the goal line. Shots on goal favored Lindenwood 17-10 after the first period.
At 6:07 of the second period, Lindenwood took the lead for good on the power play. After a shot bounced off the crossbar early in the power play, Caleb Price helped move the puck to Caige Sterzer who fed it across the slot for a Kyle Jeffers one-timer to make it 3-2 Lindenwood. Lindenwood once again outshot the Bronchos 13-3 in the second period.
In the third period, the Lions broke the game open as Finnegan won an offensive zone faceoff and sent the puck to Jeffers for a blast into the net at 3:19 to make it 4-2. Lindenwood increased its advantage to 5-2 at 7:35 on a goal by Vegard Faret from the left faceoff circle after a Blake Finley point shot rebounded off the end boards, with Mitchell Allard getting the second assist.
Back-to-back power play goals in the latter half of the period from Sterzer (Price) and Andy Willis (Aiden Yakimchuk, Faret) and an even strength slapper from Brendan Murphy (Kyler Newman, Zachary Aughe) made it 8-2 with 4:07 remaining in the game. Central Oklahoma’s Austin Simpson (Luke Bombardir, Mikhailov) sniped a power play goal for the final goal of the game.
The Lions outshot the Bronchos 43 to 22, with Lindenwood’s lethal power play going 4-6 with the man advantage while holding Central Oklahoma to one goal on four opportunities.
With the win, the Lions conclude the season with an overall record of 22-3-0, the only losses coming to NCAA teams, including University of Denver, the 2022 NCAA Men’s Division I Ice Hockey National Champions, and United States Air Force Academy (twice). Lindenwood, regular season and playoff champions of the Central States Collegiate Hockey League, wins the ACHA Men’s Division I title for the fourth time overall and the first time since 2016. The Bronchos, regular season champions of the Western Collegiate Hockey League, finish their season at 31-5-0.
This is Central Oklahoma’s first runner-up finish after two previous ACHA National Championship Game wins.
Lindenwood forward Kyle Jeffers, with 2 goals and an assist in the Championship Game and 5 goals and 3 assists overall in the tournament, was awarded the Joe Battista Men’s Division I National Championships Most Valuable Player. The rest of the ACHA 2022 M1 National Championships All-Tournament Teams are listed below: