The Cougars Remain on Top as Division 2 crowns Champion after year hiatus
When Assiniboine Community College left the ice in Frisco, Texas, having just won their first ACHA W2 championship in school history, little did they know how long they would go before defending that title. Most teams expect to be the reigning champion of a division for about 365 days, at least. In ACC's case, it would 1050 days before they would step onto Nationals ice again. First, the COVID-pandemic cancelled the 19-20 Nationals, then due to COVID restrictions among member schools, Division 2 did not compete in 20-21, so the Cougars went almost three years being able to hold onto the Championship Cup.
So, when they were able to finally hit the ice, at Maryville University Ice Center, Assiniboine was a much different team, but the goal remained the same, to keep the title north of the border. With the expansion of the tournament to 16 teams and teams divided into four pools, each with four teams, there were even more people vying to take the trophy away.
In their first pool play game, the Cougars blanked the University of Vermont, 4-0. Emmalie Thompson scored twice in the win and the Catamounts were held to just nine shots on goal for the game. University of New Hampshire was up next, and while the shots were more plentiful, 25 for the Wildcats, the back of the Assiniboine net continued to be untouched, with a 5-0 shutout. Simone Turner has two goals and an assist to lead the way. In their final pool play game, now at Centene Community Ice Center, a unique matchup happened with two Canadian teams facing off for the chance to make it to the semifinals. The shutout streak for Assiniboine ended at 67:40, as Sault College was able to score, however, that would the only time they would have a tally on the scoresheet. Topping her three-point game the day before, Turner-Commer scored all three goals to lead ACC to the 3-1 win.
Northeastern stood in the way of another trip to finals and the Huskies had the lead after the first period 1-0. But, like all other teams prior, NE has no answer for Simone Turner, as she had her second hat trick game in a row and an assist on one of the two Aidan Roberts goals. When the final buzzer sounded, the Cougars had a 5-3 win and a date in the title game with Dakota College.
They say that repeating as a champion is not easy, because everyone is looking to take out the champ. After cruising through the tournament for the most part, the Jacks gave all they could handle for Assiniboine. After the Cougars went in to the first intermission up 1-0, a second period tally had the score tied at 1-1 going into the final frame. But, as in the whole tournament, DCB could not deny Turner from leading her team to victory, and her third period goal just under five minutes into the third sealed the game and the Championship for ACC. Turner was announced as the Tournament MVP and as one of four Cougars to receive First Team All-Tournament Honors. (See below for full All Tournament Teams)
First Team All-Tournament
Forward- Simone Turner, Assiniboine Community College
Forward- Aidan Roberts, Assiniboine Community College
Forward- Crystal Wale, Dakota College
Defense- Cora Fijala, Assiniboine Community College
Defense- Trinity Tanner, Dakota College
Goalie- Megan Beswitherick, Assiniboine Community College
Second Team All-Tournament
Forward- Sierra Butler, Northeastern University
Forward- Elle Joubert, Boston College
Forward- Emily Pollis, Northeastern University
Defense- Margaret Henderson, Boston College
Defense- Lauren Power, U.S. Naval Academy
Goalie- Chloe Burt, Dakota College