Sporting WCA

Two Straight Wins Propel Westminster Hockey into the Next Round

Westminster Hockey opened postseason play this week with two comfortable wins against Fox and Lindbergh. After defeating Fox 7-1 on Thursday, the Wildcats moved onto Lindbergh on Saturday, where they won 5-1 at the Shark Tank. Their two wins automatically advanced them to the next round of the playoffs.

For the third consecutive season, Westminster Hockey was sent to the Wickenheiser Cup bracket for a chance to compete for a championship. In the Mid-States Club Hockey Association, there are three brackets a team can be sent to based on their record and performance. The best teams are sent to the Challenge Cup, the mid-level teams are sent to the Wickenheiser Cup (often known simply as “The Wick”), and the worst teams are sent to the Founders Cup. Of sixteen teams sent to The Wick, Westminster was seeded at number thirteen based upon their 6-11-3 regular season record. The players, however, seem unphased by their team’s seed.

“There is no pressure at the thirteenth seed. Seeding means nothing. They’re gonna keep knocking us down in seedings because they don’t want to see us winning, but we still seem to kill every team,” said Jack Bystrom.

The Wildcats have won the Wickenheiser Cup in each of the last two seasons. They defeated Ladue by a score of 3-2 in 2017 and Marquette by a score of 4-2 in 2018. The championship games of each bracket are played at the Scottrade Center and always attract large crowds of students. The players love playing a meaningful game in a big arena with a rowdy crowd.

“With a full roster and playing well, I think that this team can beat anyone in the Cup, and I think we have a good shot at making it back to the Enterprise Center again this year,” said Ben Parres.

They hope to get back to the championship again, but the journey still has a way to go.    

On Thursday against Fox, the Wildcats’ victory was fueled by an all-around team effort. Seven different players scored and no player scored more than once. Joe Schroeder, however, had three assists. Sam Haupfear made 23 saves and allowed only one goal.

The game on Saturday against Lindbergh was much more interesting. The Wildcats scored first, but the Flyers tied it in the second period. Until midway through the third period, the score was knotted at 1-1. However, the floodgates opened and the Wildcats went off for four goals in the final ten minutes. They won 5-1.

Westminster played a third game in pool play on Monday against Seckman, where they fell by a score of 4-1. The game was irrelevant to their status in the Wickenheiser Cup.

The Wildcats don’t know when they will play next yet, but they are confident in their chances as a team of taking home a third straight championship.

“Last year we walked out of Scottrade with the cup … at the end of the day we are coming home with the silverware,” said Bystrom, “You just can’t change facts.”