It took seven months of preparation but just 12 seconds of overtime for St. Charles Community College to bring home its second consecutive collegiate roller hockey national championship title on April 10.
SCC entered the National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association tournament in Madison, Wisc., as a no.-2 seed and ultimately defeated top-ranked St. Louis Community College-Meramec 3-2 in the title game.
Freshman Todd Hoeferlin scored the game-winner 12 seconds into sudden-death, notching a hat trick in the process, on a pass off the draw from line mate Tommy Wilson.
“We went into the game knowing we could take down Meramec. It was just a matter of finding the right moment and the right shot to get it past (Meramec’s goalie),” Hoeferlin said.
It wouldn’t be easy, though.
The SCC Cougars had lost all three of the teams’ previous head-to-head contests, including two in St. Louis at the NCRHA regional tournament and one in Wisconsin in a non-elimination round matchup. But in a game where both teams entered eager but fatigued, previous meetings between the local rivals meant very little.
“The way our games were scheduled, we ended up playing four games in less than 24 hours and six in 36 hours. Both teams were spent physically, so we knew it would come down to a chess match,” said Cougars head coach Pat Ramshaw. “We had the talent and the mental preparation coming in, and we hung with them through regulation. In overtime, Todd found a hole and shot for it.”
Hoeferlin’s game-winner beat Meramec goaltender Pat Woodling glove side, sneaking in above his leg to find the back of the net. “Their defense did the right thing, anticipating the pass, and I think Woodling was expecting (a pass), too. When I saw I had no chance there, I went straight for an opening on the short side,” Hoeferlin said.
Throughout the championship tournament, goaltending played a major factor for SCC. The Cougars were strong in net, receiving stellar results from an unconventional tandem approach. Joe Colmo of St. Peters held off Meramec in the championship, but only after Adam Traw of St. Louis closed the door on Santa Barbara Community College in SCC’s 6-4 semifinal victory.
“As coaches, we felt like both goalies had gotten us to where we were entering the tournament, and it made sense to give them an equal chance on the national stage,” Ramshaw said.
Traw had been there before, helping SCC beat Citrus College (Ca.) in the 2010 finals, and Colmo had been the Cougars lead man in net this season, garnering a 7-3 record and an .896 save percentage with two shutouts.
The championship win was SCC’s ninth in the NCRHA Junior College Division and the second for Ramshaw and assistant coach Blake Propp, an SCC alum. The traveling trophy, which stands nearly three feet tall, is on display in the SCC College Center, in time for SCC’s commencement which will be held there on May 14.
“It’s back in its rightful spot in our trophy case,” said Kelley Pfeiffer, SCC coordinator of student activities, the roller hockey club’s governing organization at the college.
The trophy will remain there until March 2012, when it will be shipped to the next national tournament site and SCC competes to bring it home once again.