The news that keeps us Onward On!

The Carroll News

The news that keeps us Onward On!
Since 1925
The news that keeps us Onward On!

The Carroll News

The news that keeps us Onward On!

The Carroll News

Club hockey soars past Western Michigan in opening game series

John Carroll Sports Information Department
John Carroll hockey celebrates after a goal during their stellar weekend performance.

Every new season starts with hope. Be it the NFL or ACHA hockey, every team has championship aspirations. Following a weekend sweep over the Western Michigan Broncos with a cumulative score of 12-3, the Blue Streaks are eyeing the same aspirations more than ever. 

Friday Night

The Blue Streaks formed an identity for their season on Friday, Sept. 15. t, and the championship pedigree is evident The Streaks set their season identity from their strengths in resiliency and physicality. The first sign of this came from the Broncos’ hot start. 

Western Michigan tallied two goals in the first 13 minutes of play, which put a damper on the home crowd’s mood. Arguably, the most important stretch of the weekend ensued soon after. 

The Blue Streaks were pinned in their own zone for a significant portion of time following the first two goals. Brodie Lerch ‘27 held strong in the net while his teammates in front of him filled shooting lanes and cleared the zone. Following the opening two goals, Lerch was magnificent, as he stifled 31 of the 33 shots he faced in his ACHA debut. 

The next 108 minutes of the weekend were all about the Blue Streaks. Though the Blue Streaks never seemed out of the game in the first period, they made sure to capitalize on their improved play late in the period. 

Alternate captain Tristan Weigand ‘24 entered the zone and released a quick shot that beat the goalie to the blocker side which cut the deficit to 2-1. Less than half a minute later, Henry Cseh ‘26 pinned a puck in the zone where forward Ethan Miller ‘24 hounded a loose puck which eventually found its way to Sean Deakin ‘24. Deakin, a star of the weekend, found twine for the first time of the young season by beating the goalie back to his post to even the game at two. 

Max Richter (Graduate Student) would give the Blue Streaks their third goal of the game, giving John Carroll some sort of relief during an intense game.

“Mac (Luke McNamara ‘24) pressured the defenseman in the corner, causing him to make a bad pass up the middle,” said Richter. “I scooped it up and shot it blocker side off the post and in.”

Richter’s hands soared in the air as he found his teammates near the blue line. The graduate student pulled a makeshift arrow out from behind his nameplate and fictionally fired it, spearing the Broncos’ bench. 

Richter’s celebration was a metaphorical symbol for the end of the Broncos’ weekend. Richter’s goal was part of 12  scored by the Blue Streaks to the Broncos’ one goal produced the rest of the weekend. 

While Act One of Friday night was the Blue Streak resiliency, Act Two: Physicality, was arguably more fun. 

The Blue Streaks wore down their opponents by playing blue-collar hockey. A team with talent to spare went into lockdown mode and physically broke their opponents. All 19 Blue Streak skaters finished their checks, forechecked, and entered lanes, breaking down their opponents from Kalamazoo. 

While the score was in question for portions of the game, the outcome was never in doubt due to the play of the Streaks.

On the power play in the second period, Charlie Tuggey ‘26 and McNamara worked the puck around the zone before McNamara hit defenseman Payton Fogarty ‘25 for a thunderous one-timer that could have gone through the net with the amount of force that Fogarty got behind the puck, reminiscent of Fogarty’s overtime winning goal versus Pitt last season. 

Soon after, Deakin found himself in the right place and buried a dangerous chance created by Weigand and Miller for the “coup de grace” of the Broncos. 

Worth noting again was the performance of Lerch between the pipes. The freshman handled himself with grace and made sure the moment wasn’t too big for him. Lerch stopped all 20 of the shots he faced in the final two periods of the contest. 

Brodie Lerch was confident and collected in the net for the Blue Streaks. (John Carroll Sports Information Department)

Saturday Night

Many teams start slow the night after they handle their opponent the way the Blue Streaks handled the Broncos on Friday night. Teams underestimate the response from their opponents and do not match their intensity from the night previous. But, that was not the case for John Carroll’s win on Saturday. 

The Blue Streaks stole the will from their opponents to continue, as the Carroll skaters scored four, first-period goals. Aidan Conway ‘25 found Tuggey just minutes into the game and Tuggey emphatically placed the puck past the goalie to draw first blood. 

Defenseman Ryan Young ‘26  fired a shot from the point, which was deflected by Tyler Putnam ‘24 into the back of the net to double the Blue Streak lead. 

Fogarty continued his strong weekend on the power play, using on-ice vision to find captain Clay Gazdak ‘24 for Gazdak’s first goal of the campaign. 

“We had a little bit of time left on our power play and I saw Fogarty have the puck at the top of the zone,” said Gazdak. “I just presented my stick for a shot-pass in front of the net and he gave me a great pass. All I had to do was put my stick out and it was going in.”

Gazdak would return the favor to Fogarty when he shot a puck directed for alternate captain Adam Unruh ‘25, which Unruh in turn deflected five holes to extend the lead to 4-0. 

The four-goal first period would suffice, as sophomore goaltender Jack Zuchlewski dazzled in the net to the tune of stopping 34 of the 35 shots he faced from the Broncos. Zuchlewski and Lerch combined to stop 65 of the 68 shots they faced on the weekend, which will give you a chance to win every time you hit the ice, no matter who is in the net. 

Deakin continued his weekend party, as the dangerous duo of Miller and Putnam helped set up a goal. In total, the line scored four goals on the weekend and held their opponents on “Island Time” defensively. 

If one play summarized the resilient and physical identity formed by the Blue Streaks, it came on the fifth goal of the night. Weigand chased a puck down into the offensive zone, forechecked and stole the puck by himself, and dished a beautiful pass into the slot. Matthew Pfeifer ‘24 had time to check the Tigers’ score in front of the net before he wrapped the bow on the beautiful play from Weigand. 

Possibly the most beautiful goal of the weekend, in more than one way, was Tuggey’s power-play goal as time expired in the second period. Tuggey regrouped the puck and flew by two defenders on the blue line before jailbreaking for the net. 

Tuggey dashed by the lone defender and was all alone with the goalie. Tuggey made a quick, yet effective move on the goaltender and finished the puck on his forehand into the glove side of the net. 

Tuggey’s father, who like many dads attends as many games as he can, was right behind the net with Charlie’s little brother. Tuggey got to celebrate his SportsCenter-caliber goal with both family and friends.

All in all, the Blue Streaks finished the dominant weekend with a 7-1 win. 

Next, the Blue Streaks travel to national powerhouse, and the country’s 13th-ranked team, Grand Valley State. The puck will drop at 8:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 23, followed by another game on Saturday, Sept. 24, at 2:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon from Griff’s Georgetown Ice Arena.. 

If a broadcast is permitted, tune into @hockeyjcu on Instagram and X.

Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

The Carroll News allows comments on articles to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks, or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. Comments are reviewed and must be approved by a moderator to ensure that they meet these standards.
All The Carroll News Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *