Hockey comes up short in final round

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After a season of dominating wins and just seven losses, the expectations were high for No. 3 DePaul Hockey Club’s postseason run. However, after falling 5-1 to No. 9 University of Michigan in the final round of regionals, their dream of reaching nationals was cut short.

“After Sunday’s loss the mood was very somber,” said goalie Cory Netrefa. “It was pretty quiet in the locker room, for the most part. Guys definitely didn’t want the season to end and definitely didn’t want to go out on 5-1 loss against the No. 9 seed. So it was very depressing. It wasn’t a good feeling.”

Michigan had already knocked off No. 4 Lindenwood in the first round of the tournament, while hat tricks from Billy Allen and Taylor Paine led DePaul to their 8-4 victory over No. 10 St. Cloud State.

The loss was especially hard with the knowledge that five of the seniors-a core part of the team-would not be returning next fall.

“We had a good season and a close group of guys, so it’s tough to see the seniors move on,” Allen said. “We felt like we should’ve done more, but we had a good run at it and we’re happy with how we played.”

Although it was difficult to pinpoint what went wrong in the loss to Michigan, Allen cited the team’s shortage of shots on goal as a problem area.

Defenseman Tony Klonowski scored DePaul’s lone goal against the Wolverines on a power play in the second period.

“We just couldn’t get anything going,” Allen said. “We just weren’t getting the bounces. [Michigan] came out and they worked hard. They had a bunch of momentum after beating Lindenwood. It’s playoff hockey, so you win some, you lose some and that’s what makes the game so much fun is that anyone can beat anyone.”

According to Netrefa, the team expected themselves to play better, but failed to come out to their full potential.

“[Michigan] came out and gave everything they had,” Netrefa said. “I think they didn’t think that they should be where they were, playing to go to nationals. Everybody expected Lindenwood to take care of business there and they shocked everybody. And I’m sure they shocked everybody again when they beat us.”

While the team’s season ended earlier than they had hoped, Netrefa said it was still a good year.

“We got the highest ranking that DePaul has ever had in the five, six years or whatever we’ve been around,” Netrefa said. “And we beat some really good teams and overall it was a really good season. We never really got too high. We never really got too low. We kept it steady throughout the season.”

For Paine, a senior who ranks third in the division with 41 goals, being ranked third should have meant a trip to nationals, though he added that making it to regionals tournament and winning in the first round were both accomplishments.

The team held one final practice last Tuesday to close out the season, according to Netrefa,. He also added that cleaning out their home locker room at Northshore Ice Arena was depressing.

“We met a lot of our goals,” Netrefa said. “But then again you’re disappointed at the end of the season because you didn’t reach your ultimate goal, which was to go to nationals.”