CHICAGO - Expectations have steadily increased through the previous four seasons of men's club hockey at Minot State University.
The road to relevancy in the American Collegiate Hockey Association was a relatively quick one for the senior class and for the first time in the program's 17 years in the ACHA the Beavers hoisted the Murdoch Cup on Wednesday.
MSU built a four-goal lead and held off Lindenwood Uninversity (Mo.) in a wild 9-5 ACHA championship game. Senior forward Dan Lamb was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player and finished with a goal and two assists in the final.
The Minot State University club hockey team celebrates its first national championship title in Chicago.
"Best feeling in the world," Lamb said via telephone. "I couldn't ask for anything more than this coming from a team that a year before I was here wasn't expected to do anything to a team that's expected to be here and now a team that's expected to win it."
MSU junior forward Cam McGeough was the first of six Beavers to score with a goal about eight minutes into the game. MSU freshman Brody Haygarth scored the fourth goal on a shot midway through the second period and the Lions never cut the deficit to less than two goals.
"We came out on fire in the first period and the boys really came out with a lot of energy," MSU third-year coach Wade Regier said. "Third period was really wild. It was kind of back-and-forth and everything. They scored and our adversity was tested and we fought through it."
Lindenwood got within 6-4 and 7-5 in the third period, but the Beavers iced the game with two open-net scores in the final minute. Haygarth scored the ninth goal to complete his hat trick.
MSU goalie Wyatt Waselenchuk finished with 34 saves.
"We jumped out to an early lead and that's what we wanted to do," MSU senior defenseman Nigel Dube said. "Had some tough luck at the beginning of the third period ... It's just unbelievable. There's no way to put it. Four years later we're lifting the cup."
Junior forward Jared McIntosh finished with two goals and sophomore forwards Logan Herauf and Mike Jordan also scored a goal each.
"The city has gone through so much with the flood and all the adversity," Regier said. "For us to be a bright spot and to put Minot and Minot State University on the map it's huge."