Not only was the Winter Classic a triumph, the whole weekend was for the Sault College Cougars men’s hockey team.
That was the word from head coach Mike Hall, whose American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) Division 2 team defeated the West Virginia University Mountaineers, a D-1 program, 3-0 on Saturday and 11-2 — sparked by Ryan Vendramin’s seven goals — on Sunday at Rankin Arena.
“It was a very, very successful weekend,” said Hall, whose team improved its overall record to 22-4-2, heading into the national championships, next month in Frisco, Tex.
Hall spoke of how the Cougars “had 700 people in attendance” for Saturday’s Winter Classic. “We had lots of students there and a lot of people in the local hockey community came out to support us.”
Vendramin, Bryceton Lalonde and Lucas Duckstein scored the Winter Classic goals, while Ryan Lawrence added a pair of assists. Justin Richer posted his first shutout of the season.
On Sunday, Vendramin added two assists to his seven-goal output. That upped his season goals total to 61 and his assists total to 39, good for a 100-point season in 28 games.
“Just amazing,” Hall said of his team captain’s performance. “I don’t think anyone dreamt he’d get to 60 goals.”
Austin Rowe had a goal and four assists in Game 2. Mark Tassone scored once and added a pair of assists while Tanner Mayne notched a goal and an assist. Steven Khull rounded out the scoring.
Kaelan O’Flynn contributed four assists while Duckstein assisted on three goals and Max Khull and Kaidan McDonald had two assists each.
Richer played the first half of the game and Dawson Hunter, who impressed Hall, played the second half.
“I’m surprised by Sunday’s score,” Hall said. “Saturday was a much-closer game.”
The Sault coach also spoke of how Mountaineers bench boss Shane Buckley, a native of Iron Bridge, Ont., told him the Cougars “are the most-talented team we’ve played against this year.”