By Lance Jordan, Sports Editor
The last time I talked to one of the University of Missouri–St. Louis roller hockey team coaches, Andrew Meade, he and the team were gearing up for another great season.
In 2016, the team placed 5th in the nation in the National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association (NCRHA).
This year saw the team play 13 games. Among their competitors were Lindenwood, Bethel, Maryville, and Mizzou. Of the 13 games, the Tritons would walk away with eight victories and five losses.
February 24-27, UMSL entered the Great Plains Collegiate Inline Hockey League (GPCIHL) Playoffs against Lindenwood and Bethel.
Meade was quoted in my previous interview with him as saying, “Every year, our key matchups seem to be with Lindenwood.”
At the Playoffs this once again seemed to be the case.
February 24 in Ballwin, Missouri, UMSL rolled onto the rink with Lindenwood Lions for their first match of the evening and were bested by the team 3-2. The Lions got on the board at 5:13 in the first period, but the Tritons responded, tying the game at 1-1 in the second. Lindenwood would be able to get back in the lead early in the third, but UMSL again tied the contest with a goal at 8:01. With just over two minutes remaining, the Lions netted the eventual game winner on an unassisted play.
The Tritons had to quickly turn their sites to the Bethel University Wildcats, however, as they were able to knock off the team 5-3. UMSL got out to an early lead scoring on a backdoor play before Bethel tied the game. Late in the first, the Tritons had power play opportunity, but the Wildcats scored first, giving them the lead. However, UMSL tied the game at the tail end of the power play. At the start of the second, the Tritons scored two goals, taking a 4-2 lead before the Wildcats scored their third goal. With just seconds in the period UMSL scored their fifth goal to take the two-point lead. The third would go back and forth but saw no one picking up another point.
The semifinals came February 26 as UMSL would once again square off against their rivals, Lindenwood. However, that Sunday afternoon, Lindenwood proved to be the better team, emerging with a 7-4 win. The Lions went unanswered for three goals in the first. As the game progressed to a 4-1 matchup, the final period saw both teams net three goals apiece. Unfortunately for the Tritons, it was not enough to secure the victory.
Lindenwood would go on to beat Bethel later that evening and claim the GPCIHL championship.
As of this article, it is unclear if the Tritons have been invited to the 2017 National Collegiate Roller Hockey Championships in Fort Myers, Florida, on April 5-9. The Current will follow up with the team to keep you up to date with the latest developments.