Ice Hawks are in the semifinals
MARLBOROUGH, Mass. — The Rochester Ice Hawks are in the national semifinals.
Though the Ice Hawks suffered a 4-3 loss to the St. Louis Junior Blues on Sunday during the USA Hockey Junior A, Tier III national tournament, they still advanced because they earned the wild-card spot by holding the tiebreaker over the other teams with 2-1 records.
When more than two teams are tied in the standings, goal differential is the tiebreaker. The Ice Hawks held a goal differential of plus-4, meaning they scored four more total goals than their opponents. That was one better than the next best 2-1 team.
"We wanted to win, but obviously, we’re still playing hockey, so we can’t be disappointed," Ice Hawks captain Justin Phelps said. "I was really down after the loss. But I’m pretty excited now. Things haven’t even really hit me yet."
It’s the third time in the programs history that the Ice Hawks have advanced to the national semifinals. They were semifinalists in 2004 and 2006.
Now the Ice Hawks will play the top-seeded South Shore Kings at 11:30 a.m. (Central) Monday with a spot in the national title game on the line.
"The Kings are obviously the best team in the tournament, and they’re No. 1 for a reason," Ice Hawks coach Nick Fatis said. "But in one game, anything can happen. I know this team believes it. Maybe this is a team of destiny."
The Ice Hawks dropped to 49-9-0-1. It’s the second consecutive year they’ve gone 2-1 at nationals.
"It’s a great feeling," Fatis said. "I’m so happy and so proud of these guys. Even though we lost, it doesn’t take anything away from what they’ve accomplished."