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Hockey loses heartbreaker to end season, misses nationals

By Jacob Payne
On March 5, 2012

Last weekend, the DePaul men's club hockey team ended their season in an overtime heartbreaker in the ACHA Division II regional playoffs against Michigan. They lost at home by a power play goal that made the final score 6-5 and ended the team's hopes of going to nationals.

"It was pretty devastating. I sat in the locker room for a good 45 minutes before I started changing. It sucked and it still sucks," said senior goaltender Cory Netrefa.

Club president and senior Bill Allen said that, given their successful regular season, it was "tough to see it all end."

DePaul is quite familiar with this Michigan team they lost to — last year, in the same round, the Wolverines defeated the Blue Demons to end their chances for nationals.

However, even with the unfavorable ending, the fact remains that the team had a great season. Despite the loss, they were still undefeated in regulation, finishing the season with an overall record of 27-0-4, scoring 190 total goals, in contrast to the 81 scored against them.

"I have never been on a team that went into overtime so many times. The battles in overtime and the way we kept fighting made us a stronger team," Netrefa said.

The Michigan loss was also the team's first loss at home, an impressive feat for any team in any sport.

Allen, who joined the team as a freshman and Netrefa, who joined as a sophomore, both experienced firsthand the improvement of the squad into one of the best in their league.

"We got better recruiting, so we got a lot of great talent to get an interest and join the team. That'll continue as the years go by and it'll be a big help," said Allen.

Netrefa also attributes the off-ice programs and the addition of goalie coaches as a major factor in the team's reason for having "more of a drive to win."

Yet the end of the season also heralds the final days of the seniors in DePaul sweaters. The club hockey team will lose eight seniors, six of whom contributed 210 points this year. Netrefa and Allen aren't sure where their hockey careers will take them next.

"As far as hockey goes, it'll be me going to Johnny's Icehouse (a hockey facility) with my hockey buddies, but professionally it looks like I'll be doing nonprofessional," said Netrefa.

"I'll play men's league, but I haven't thought much about the future. I want to try coaching hockey, but competitively I'm thinking that was my last game," said Allen.

When asked about what they would miss most about the team that they have put so many hours into, they both said that they will miss coming to the rink and seeing all their friends and teammates who they saw four or five days a week.

Despite how the team ended their season, the influence and work in helping to build the program will hopefully carry over past their time at DePaul and to a team that has a strong core of young players. Both players thanked everyone who supported them over the season and it's fair to say that is a statement the entire team would agree with.

The loss to Michigan may have meant an end to this season, but Netrefa hints at a different fate next year.

"We have a great bunch of young guys. Michigan beat us to go to nationals two years in a row, but maybe the third time will be the charm."

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