The Road to Conference: Marian Men’s ACHA Ice Hockey Prepares to Host Tournament

Christopher Frederickson, Coach

Christopher Frederickson, Coach

Emma Lewandowski, Reporter

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Going undefeated in their regular season, the ACHA Men’s Ice Hockey Team has certainly generated a buzz on campus in recent weeks. Now with a record of 25-3-2, the conference tournament approaches – and the team is ready to “battle back and win it all,” in the words of Danny Roe, senior defenseman and head captain. 

Behind their success seems to be the undeniable team chemistry that has formed and continues to flourish. Coach Christopher Frederickson notes that a large part of this stems from the returning leadership group. “Having Danny Roe, Paul Kinder, and Jake Weldon, our captains, come back, upperclassmen as well, plus “Justin Davidson, our starting goalie, is especially impactful in building the team support,” said Frederickson. Roe says similar, commenting that the “team is coming together a lot more,” along with Connor Martin, junior defenseman, noting that the players all “gel really well together.”  

Not only this, but an additional contributor to the men’s success has been the team’s all-around preparation, seeing as they now have a full roster as opposed to the tail end of last year, when they had only 14 guys. Roe also recognizes this, stating that “having a full bench has contributed to much of the success, since we are able to have fresh legs on the ice at all times,” and Martin echoes this when he comments how there are “a lot of guys contributing in the lineup.” 

Not only has the connected team dynamic been a factor in the ACHA players’ success, but the fans have certainly created a spirited atmosphere. When asked how the fan turnout has looked in recent years, Roe comments that that “crowd from years past has really not been there,” while jumping to the present season, “this year has really picked up with the attendance and we really appreciate the support.”  

Martin also appreciates the dedication of the fans, so much that he states, “the fans this year – honestly the best fan experience I’ve had at Marian.” Plus, both Roe and Martin acknowledge the commitment of the Marian Men’s Lacrosse Team especially. “We owe a lot to the lacrosse boys that come out to every game and make the atmosphere fun to play in,” says Roe. Martin also credits the lacrosse team for being “a huge part of our success, and a lot of the reason we’ve been performing the way we have.” 

Get ready again, fans – the Conference Tournament approaches this upcoming weekend, with Marian determined as the host, as Coach Frederickson’s bid stood alone amongst the other conference teams. “It’s huge,” says Frederickson, and goes on to express the team’s eager anticipation for the tournament, noting that it is “exciting for us knowing that we could be winning our conference tournament at home.”  

As hosting and competition approaches, there is a certain “hunger” that has been building, in Frederickson’s words. Seeing as the ACHA men have fallen slightly short the past two years, with taking a loss in the first regional game two years ago and moving only to the second regional game last year, Roe now is quick to predict the men’s eagerness to “bring Phil,” or the Hap Cup, “back to Fondy.”  

Beyond conference, though, the men hope to move into regionals and even further into the national tournament.  “Just going to the [national] tournament would be a huge step for our program,” says Frederickson, and looking back at the success of this season, he is hopeful that the team’s experience especially may aid them in achieving both of these goals. While it is still in the making, this being only the 3rd year of the ACHA program, the “powerhouse” as Frederickson calls it, is still making strides toward exceeding the success of each previous year.  

Now the ACHA men hope to see the stands packed yet again this weekend as they compete for the conference championship. Come out Saturday and Sunday at 1:30 PM to the Blue Line Family Ice Center to cheer on the ACHA Sabres as they battle to skate away from the  tournament with a pair of victories. 

Connor Martin, #5, Junior defenseman

Danny Roe, #13, Senior Defenseman