Web Exclusive: Hockey team qualifies for division three conference tournament

The University of Wisconsin-Platteville Pioneer hockey team was on its way to a third conference championship in a row. With a record of 10-12-3, they are ranked 8th overall in the division and have qualified to make it in the division three conference tournament.

A lot of what has been working for the hockey team did not happen this season. Last season the hockey team won the conference championship for the second time in a row. With their success from last year the hockey team chose not to change much. Last year the team focused on keeping in top physical condition. They also focused on making sure everyone worked well with each other.

“It’s all about the three-peat,” said Cameron Boeder defenseman and current president of the hockey team, “we’ve been really working hard all season to get that three-peat this year.”

The tournament was held in The Owens Center in Peoria, IL from Feb. 13-15. Some of the other teams in the tournament include Iowa, Iowa State, and Nebraska.

The team put in many hours of both on and off the ice. On dry land they work their leg strength and their lateral movement drills. On the ice the hockey team focused on working on their system of plays, including power plays and take away percentage. These two factors played a key part in important games throughout the season. The team also worked the fundamentals during its practices to try to avoid any mental errors.

“A big part of our success this season is the dedication and hard work from our seniors,” Boeder said, “we’re going to miss them when they leave but they taught us a lot about how to be a good hockey team. We do thank them for everything they have done for us and we also wish them luck in the future.”

When the hockey team is not practicing, they still find time to hang out with each other.

“We’re really close with each other and it’s just like we’re one big happy family,” Casey Main forward for the UW-Platteville hockey team said.

They feel very confident in their team chemistry. Most of the players on the current roster have been teammates for three or four seasons now. Some of the players have even played in high school together, either with or against one another. The team finds it important to be able to work well together both on and off the ice.

One of the difficulties the hockey team is facing right now is roster size. With 18 members there is still not enough players for a full roster. The team hopes to increase their membership by next season.

“What we’re looking for is membership so we can have a full roster. Playing on a smaller team really takes a lot out of you during game time. We want to be able to keep fresh guys on the ice and be able to rotate in and out whenever we need to,” said Main.

After this season the team will not be losing many graduating seniors, so they hope to be able to recruit a lot of incoming freshman in order to teach them the system early. The graduating seniors include team Captain Elias Motz, Assistant Captain Matt DeGrave, and former club president Alex Walczak. The team also plans on speaking with high school and junior league coaches around the area during the summer to help get the word out about the team.