The University of Delaware won't be repeating as champions of the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) this season.
The Blue Hens fell to the University of Illinois 3-1 yesterday afternoon in the opening round of the 2013 ACHA National Championships being held in Bensenville, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. The Hens were hoping to defend the title they earned in Cleveland, Ohio, last March.
The close-checking contest started well enough for the Blue Hens, as they scored the first goal of the game on a re-direct by Matt Santucci at 17:27 of the first period. Santucci tipped a shot from Ayrton Doerr past Illinois goaltender Nick Clarke, who had an outstanding game between the pipes for the Illini. As it turned out, it would be the only goal of the game for Delaware.
Illinois finally got on the board at 13:06 of the second period on a goal by John Scully. His shot fluttered by Hens' net-minder S. J. Broadt on a well-timed screen play.
The game remained tense and exciting through the end of the second period with the score knotted at 1-1.
Illinois finally got their first lead of the game on a shot by Derek Schultz at 12:47 of the third period.
Delaware had an opportunity to get the equalizer when they went on the power play with about 6 minutes remaining in regulation. Clarke and the Illinois defense rose to the occasion and shut the power play down.
The Illini scored an empty net goal by Nick Stuercke at 19:26, with Broadt on the Hens' bench, thus bringing the playoffs and the season to an unlikely ending.
Broadt was the playoff MVP last season, and played very well, but couldn't repeat the magic of the 2012 championship season.