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COC hockey team heading to national championships

Only California team contending

Posted: March 3, 2009 7:22 p.m.
Updated: March 3, 2009 4:22 p.m.
Do you believe in miracles?

For the College of the Canyons hockey team the answer is an emphatic YES!

Now the Cougars will try to make believers of the rest of the country as they vie for the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) Division-III title during the ACHA National Championships March 4-7 2009 in Rochester, New York.

As the Pacific Coast Hockey Association's (PCHA) only community college team, Canyons recently registered an improbable 8-1 playoff victory over nationally No. 1 ranked Northern Arizona University (NAU) to win the PCHA's coveted Adams Cup and advance to the National Championships.

As a result, College of the Canyons will be one of only two community colleges, and the only school from California, competing in the National Championships' 16-team field.

With a mix of larger and more athletically celebrated Division I universities - including University of Colorado, Georgia Tech and University of Tennessee - and lesser known, put perhaps better geographically suited for hockey, schools located in areas like Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania, the Cougars will assuredly be one of the tournament's less heralded entries.

In fact, one would be hard pressed to find a terrain less ideal for hockey than the Southern California landscape that surrounds College of the Canyons. As the name might suggest the land is a mix of dry canyons, rolling hills and patches of brush-filled California forestry, which when combined with Santa Clarita's dry desert climate routinely produces blistering triple-digit temperatures.

But this team hasn't let Southern California's atypical hockey weather slow them down one bit. Primarily playing against surrounding four-year colleges and universities the Cougars skated to an impressive 13-4 regular season record before racking up post season victories over South Dakota State, U.S. Air Force Academy, Fresno State and NAU to stamp their tickets to Rochester.

College of the Canyons will next drop the puck against Albany University in the opening round of the ACHA Division-III National Championships at 4:15 p.m. EST Wednesday, March 4, in Rochester, N.Y.

See Wednesday's edition of The Signal newspaper for more on this story.


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