Calvin Hockey Team Blazing Through 2014-15 Season

Calvin Hockey Team Blazing Through 2014-15 Season

If the first half of the 2014-15 season is any indication, big things are in store for Calvin's ACHA hockey team.

The Knights are currently off to their best start in several years with a 15-3-1 overall record. Ranked third in the most recent set of ACHA Division III North Region rankings, Calvin is currently second in the Michigan Collegiate Hockey Conference West Division standings with a 6-2-0 conference record.

Calvin has not won more than 17 games in a season since the 2006-07 season or advanced to the ACHA Division III National Tournament since the 2007-08 season. With a full head of steam, the Knights have the opportunity to achieve both of those feats this year.

"It's been a really fun first half of the season," said Calvin head coach Mike Petrusma who is in his 18th year at the helm of the Knights where he has won 369 games against just 127 defeats and nine ties. "We are trying to take things one game at a time but this team is one of the more talented offensive groups I have coached. Our defense is also coming along and if we can tighten up a few things on defense, we have a chance to make some noise during the second half of the season. Right now everything is in front of us and that is exciting for our program."

Petrusma's current thoughts are not on his Calvin team but on an ACHA Division III Selects team he is serving as head coach for. The Selects are currently traveling through Austria, Italy, Slovenia and Germany while taking on a variety of professional teams and receiving cross-cultural experiences.

Two of his Calvin players are members of the Selects team - senior forward Brent Harris of St. Catharines, Ontario, and sophomore defenseman Austin Kath of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

"These young men represent everything that we want from our student-athletes at Calvin College," said Petrusma last month.  "I’m honored to coach them and I’m very proud of this accomplishment for them.”

The Selects team is comprised of the top players in ACHA D3 and travels to Europe every two years. The player selection committee includes: Mike Petrusma (Calvin College/Former Selects Assistant Coach/Current Selects Head Coach), Sean Weaver (Central Florida/Former Select’s Head Coach), Chris Van Timmeren (Hope College/Former Select’s Head Coach) and Division 3 Vice-president Scott Solomon.

This is the 3rd installment of the Selects trip to Europe. Calvin has had representation on each of the previous Selects trips as well. Coach Petrusma served as an Assistant and former Calvin College Goalie Trevor Boardway went 3-0 on the 2012-13 team, while Forward Chuck Hofbauer was selected to the 2010-11 team.

"We try to make sure that this is not just a hockey experience but also an educational and cultural learning experience for our young men," said Petrusma. "This philosophy is very much in tune with what we seek for our players at Calvin with its outstanding liberal arts education."

Looking ahead, Calvin will seek to continue its torrid start to the season when the Knights host Colorado State University on January 16 and Northwood University on January 17 with both games slated to be played at the Eagles Ice Center.

Calvin will host MCHC West Division leading Michigan State University on January 23 at Eagles Ice Center. In order to reach the ACHA Division III National Tournament in March, the Knights must move up at least one spot in the final ACHA Division III North Region rankings to receive an automatic bid or claim one of the two regional tournament spots that will be up for grabs when regional tournament play takes place February 20 and 21 in Farmington, Michigan. The 2014 ACHA Division III Nationals are scheduled to take place March 10-14 in Pelham, Alabama.

Calvin is averaging 6.6 goals-per-game offensively with the offensive attack led by sophomore forward Jordan Duncan of Oshawa, Ontario, who has 23 goals, 23 assists and a team-leading 46 points on the season. For the month of October, Duncan was named the recipient of the ACHA's Harrow Player of the Month Award after scoring eight goals and adding 16 assists through Calvin's first 10 games.

"Anytime we get national recognition it's a great thing for our program," said Petrusma. "Jordan is having an outstanding sophomore season and he compliments Brent Harris very well on one of our main offensive lines."

According to Petrusma, Calvin's senior captains Rich Luimes (Caledonia, Ontario) and Harris along with senior assistant captain Brandon Sopjes (Dorr, Mich./Wayland HS) and junior assistant captain John Conz (Fort Wayne, Ind.) have been key to the team's success.

"We have a great group of captains which is very critical because of how young our team is," said Petrusma. "I think the camaraderie with our team is very high. It's a great group of young men who enjoy being around each other. I think the biggest things for our team moving forward will be a commitment to team defense and completely buying into what we want to do as a team. If we accomplish those goals during the second half we will get to where we want this team to be."

To follow the ACHA Selects Blog through Europe, visit the ACHA website at the ACHA Division III Selects Tour Blog.

For more on the Calvin hockey team, visit the team website at: Calvinhockey.com