The Ice Cats lost their American Collegiate Hockey Association regional semifinal game 3-2 in overtime last Friday.
With the last level of their season coming up, freshman forward Adam Patula said that they had a challenge to face–playing at regionals.
The biggest challenge Patula said they faced ended in defeat.
Despite the loss, however, the Pitt-Johnsotwn hockey team’s season isn’t over.
The Ice Cats will play their regional match Friday to determine a nationals spot.
The Ice Cats are to play in the College Hockey East Semifinals on Friday.
They are to play Fredonia State (New York) at S&T Bank Arena.
Pitt-Johnstown Ice Cats have made a sometimes silent impact in the American Collegiate Hockey Association with a 13-11-2 record.
According to sophomore forward Michael Heverly, the team has had to overcome obstacles this season and continue winning to keep ascending.
“One of the biggest factors we have had to overcome this season is the fact that we lost multiple players” Heverly said.
“One of the biggest challenges we have had to face is our look against the other teams,” Heverly said.
“Every opponent seeing us as the underdog and us fighting into postseason.”
Despite losing multiple players, Heverly said that the Ice Cats have won in at least one way.
“As we got farther through the season, our work ethic improved drastically,” Heverly said.
With their season continuing to soar, Heverly said that it was realistic that the Ice Cats could have made it to the American Collegiate Hockey Association tournament.
After they finished their regular season Feb. 10, the Ice Cats were ranked No. 9 in the association.
Despite the top rank and placement into postseason, the Ice Cats are a young team compared with others.
Patula said the team’s relative youth was an obstacle.
“I think just being a young and inexperienced team in general is the biggest factor we’ve had to overcome this year,” Patula said.
“For 13 of us, this is the first year playing at the college level, so just getting used to the faster pace and that has taken some time but I think we’re all there now.”
Patula said that the Ice Cats practiced hard and long enough to get them where they are in the post season.
“We’ve really started to put the puck in the net recently,” Patula said.
“This whole season we’ve had a high shot total, but we couldn’t capitalize on some opportunities but, in our last five games, we’ve scored 37 goals and, at this level scoring is contagious, so hopefully that keeps up.”