On to Regionals!

Feb 10, 2010

After two years of hard work and tough games, the Kettering University Bulldog hockey team made it to the ACHA Regionals in the Northern Conference for the first time!

UPDATE: Kettering's Bulldog Hockey team played an impressive game but lost to Grand Valley's highly-ranked team 5-2 during Friday night's regional contest in West Michigan. Assistant Coach Bob Nichols said the Bulldogs played a really good game against one of the best teams in the country. Congrats hockey team!!

How does a recreational hockey club go from being just a bunch of college students who loved to play hockey in one of the country’s best hockey hotbeds to making it to the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) Regionals in just two years? Simple: through hard work and a relentless will to succeed.

For senior forward Jim Gat of St. Clair Shores, Mich., the hard work and relentless pursuit of a collegiate-level hockey squad over the past two years has resulted in a team that has become a highly respected competitor in the Northern Conference of the ACHA. More importantly, this achievement shows that Bulldog hockey is well on its way to becoming a sport of appeal and interest among faculty, staff, students and alumni.

Currently, the team plays in the Michigan Collegiate Hockey Conference (MCHC).  In the team’s first season during 2008-2009, they achieved a record of 9-3-1. They recently completed their season this past weekend with a game against Delta College (previously ranked #10 in the MCHC) by beating them 8-4. This was the pivotal game—a win would mean that Kettering, which was ranked #11 in league coaching polls prior to the game, could move ahead of Delta in wins and season points based on final rankings from team coaches. Only the top 10 teams from each conference receive bids to the Regionals. As a result of this win and a Saturday night win against Jackson Community College, the team finished with 11 wins and 5 losses, securing the final spot in the Northern Regionals of the ACHA.

Jim Gat, co-captain of the team, said that the team had a full appreciation regarding the importance of the Delta game for this season and for the future of the Kettering hockey program.

“All of us had a lot of nerves, but I think we knew if we played our game, we could overtake Delta and move on to Regionals,” he said, adding that the team, “never took this for granted. We wanted to make Regionals, but knew it wasn’t going to be easy by any means. This is huge for the program, because in two short years we’ve shown that Kettering can compete at the collegiate level with great success.”

Now that the team has achieved this short-term goal, they hope to continue moving on in the bracket. 

But that will not be an easy task. The Bulldogs play the Grand Valley State University Lakers, which finished MCHC regular season play and ranked # 3 following the conclusion of the season with a record of 26-6. Gat and the rest of the team understand that this will be a challenging game, but they’ve shown a considerable amount of resiliency in tough games all season. The game will take place at Southside Community Ice Center in Byron Center, Mich., Friday, Feb. 19, at 7:30 p.m.

The wins against Delta and Jackson Community College come on the heels of recent news regarding the selection of three Bulldog players to the MCHC All Conference Team. These players will play on the conference team that will play against other select Conference teams from throughout the U.S.  The players are

#11 Senior Forward Steve Bandurski of Grand Blanc, Mich.;
#22 Junior Forward Toby Brune of Flint, Mich.; and
#19 Freshman Defenseman Tyler Bandurski, who is also the brother of Steve.
To learn more about the Kettering University Bulldog Hockey Team, visit http://www.kettering.edu/recservices/hockey.jsp.

Directions to Southside Community Ice Center: http://arenamaps.com/view_arena.php?position=0&arena_name=southside&city=&state=MI&zip=&country=&id=3&sport=0 

Written by Gary Erwin