Hockey Club wins MACHA Silver Division

Matthew Ahasay, Opinions Editor

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With a roster full of freshman and a new training regimen, there was doubt among the veterans of the Pioneer Hockey Club that the team could reach their goal of winning their MACHA Division III conference championship.

In a new conference and with a newfound sense of dedication, talent and organization, the Pioneers defied even their own perceptions.

The club went 17-5-3, winning their conference for the first time in club history when they beat Missouri State 4-1 Feb. 10 in Peoria, Ill.

Doubt would soon turn into assertion as the club went from off-ice conditioning practices to more traditional and contemporary on-ice training.

After dropping those less dedicated and conditioned, the Pioneers saw tremendous progress both on and off the ice.

“Six rookies really stepped up,” junior center Elias Motz said.  “We found those guys who looked at it as just a club, so we filtered those out that weren’t dedicated.”

With those most talented and dedicated left on the roster, the Pioneers were able travel around the Midwest, facing much larger crowds than those at home, and win in hostile territory.

With crowds ranging from the most volatile student section of 1,500 in Springfield, Ill., to the more modest in smaller towns, the Pioneers took charge and proved they were a stout team.

The sqaud outscored their three opponents (Illinois St., Iowa St. and Missouri St.) 12-1 in the MACHA playoffs.

Aside from the off-ice conditioning, Motz said the team’s overall talent was the key to their success.

”The biggest difference was the talent we recruited as a result of more exposure,” Motz said.

Despite their successful season, talent is where Motz believes the squad still needs improvement.

With the integration of a recruitment tab on their web site, uwphockey.org, and social media exposure, there is a chance that the Pioneers will acquire even more talent.

Recruiting for the club will not begin until the fall semester, and until then, the players will get a well-deserved rest.

Despite their success, the Pioneer Hockey Club is staying modest and keeping their goal of winning the conference and carrying it on to next season.

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