The Ramapo College roller hockey team was eliminated from playoff contention this weekend after suffering two losses during the Eastern Collegiate Roller Hockey Association Division Three Regional Championships.
The Roadrunners lost the first game of the round robin playoff format on Friday night to the Niagara University Purple Eagles 8-1 and then to the Kutztown University Bears 6-2 on Saturday.
“Even though we came up short, this season was the most fun I’ve ever had playing hockey, and I want to thank the guys for allowing me to be a part of it,” said Ramapo goaltender Nick Calabrase, a senior. “I’m going to miss playing.”
The Roadrunners finished the regular season in fifth place, placing them in a playoff pool with first place Niagara and fourth place Kutztown for the round robin portion of the Division Three Regional Championships.
The top six of the eight teams in the division advanced to the playoffs, and the first seed was placed in a pool with the fourth and fifth place teams, while the second place team played with the third and sixth placed teams.
In the first game, the Roadrunners were out shot by the Purple Eagles 29-16. Senior Luke Hartman scored the lone goal for the Roadrunners, which tied the game 1-1 just 11 seconds after Niagara sophomore Matt Downen opened the scoring four minutes into the game.
Niagara would add three more goals in the first period, three in the second and one in the third to take the win. Niagara went on to defeat Kutztown, Cornell University and Syracuse University to win the Division Three Championship.
After the loss to Niagara, the Roadrunners needed to win their second game of the weekend to keep their season alive.
Ramapo scored first in the game, as junior and captain Jeremy Higginson scored a power play goal seven and a half minutes into the first period. The goal came off a rush from all the way behind the Ramapo goal, and Higginson beat Kutztown goaltender Trevor Pearson high on the glove side.
Despite taking a 1-0 lead into the second period, the Roadrunners would give up three goals in the final two periods and ultimately lose the game 6-2. Higginson scored the other Roadrunner goal in the third period for his second of the game.
The game was not as lopsided as the scoreboard revealed however, as the Roadrunners were only out shot 24-22 in the game.
Pearson made several saves on quality shots by Ramapo to keep his team ahead, even as the Roadrunners pushed to extend their season for at least another day.
Overall, the Roadrunners were outscored 14-3 in the two playoff games. Goal scoring had been a problem for the Roadrunners all season. Ramapo scored 52 goals during the regular season, which was just fifth highest in the division.
Niagara finished the season first in every statistical category, scoring 99 goals and allowing just 28 in 12 regular season games. They finished the season undefeated with 19 wins in a row spanning the preseason, regular season and playoffs en route to the championship.
The roller hockey team roster included nine seniors, although some may be eligible to play next season. Part-time students only taking one or two classes are still eligible to participate in the ECRHA.
“Playing and helping coach this team over the past four years has been about way more then wins or loses,” said assistant coach and former goaltender Matt Belluardo, a Ramapo graduate. “We became a family, and I don’t care if anyone think that’s weird. It has been my pleasure to have met and shared some memories with these guys.”