Inside The ACHA

Tennessee Remains No. 1 In South,
Earns Berth In 2007 Nationals

MUSKEGON, MI — The Ice Vols held on to No. 1 in the Final Official ACHA Regional Rankings of the year, released today.  Kennesaw State jumped to second place, followed by Georgia Tech and Central Florida, with South Florida rounding out the top five. Tennessee was a unanimous #1, securing all nine top votes for the second time this season. The top four teams will all advance to the ACHA National Tournament, February 28 through March 3 in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  This will be Tennessee’s third trip to the ACHA National Tournament. The Ice Vols finished 7th in their last appearance in 2003.  The remaining regional rankings, as well as the National Tournament bracket will be released later in the week.

UT WIins Regional Championship

Alpharetta GA — Tennessee claimed the 2007 ACHA Southern Regional Championship with its victories over Georgia, South Florida, and Kennesaw State this weekend. 

Game Recap: (Quarterfinals) Tennessee-9, Georgia-1
Tennessee opened the 2007 Southern Regional with 8-seed Georgia, the teams' third match-up of the season.  Tennessee scored early and often, notching two goals in the first minute of the game. The first came from Kevin Jones at 19:40, then Scott Holtzman at 19:08. Joe Williams, Chris Murphy, Brad Holt, and Carl Wallin also added UT goals before Georgia's first and only goal at the 17:31 mark of the second. Scotty Holtzman later knocked in his second of the game, and Kevin Jones added two more for the hat trick. Mark McHugh scored the win in net as Tennessee scored its 3rd win over the Bulldogs this season.

Game Recap: (Semifinals)
Tennessee-6, South Florida-1
Tennessee entered the Regional Final Four against South Florida, a team the Ice Vols swept last season, but had not faced this year. 
Senior Matt Williams opened scoring for the Orange with tip in at 14:09, but USF answered to tie the game midway through the first. While in the middle of fighting off a string of penalties, Tennessee's Kevin Jones broke away with a shorthanded goal with only 24 seconds remaining in the first.  This fired up the team heading into the locker room and started a streak of 5 unanswered Tennessee scores, two from Joe Williams, another from Kevin Jones, and one from Jon Benner to set the final at 6-1. B.J. Keyes earned his seventh victory of the season and remained unbeaten on the year.

Game Recap: (Regional Finals)
Tennessee-6, Kennesaw State-5
In a clash of the titans, the top two teams in the ACHA South region all season, Tennessee and Kennesaw State, squared off for an exciting and memorable championship game to decide it all. Kennesaw broke out early, scoring two goals in the first 5 minutes of the game before a string of KSU penalties allowed Tennessee to gain momentum.  The Ice Vols capitalized, scoring two from Kevin Jones and Scott Holtzman to even the score at the end of the first. UT continued with its momentum, dominating the second period in terms of puck possession and shots on goal, out-shooting the Owls 21-8 for the period. The Vols scored four more from Joe Williams, Chris Murphy and two from Jon Benner, to take a 6-2 lead before a late KSU shot bounced over McLean's stick to set the score at 6-3 heading into the third.  An intense KSU squad battled back in the third against more conservative Tennessee play, peppering shots into the zone, but not scoring until a power play goal at the 4:18 mark.  They notched another goal with an extra attacker at 0:37 seconds, but could not find the net again as Tennessee held off the Owls to take the 6-5 victory and the title. Kelsey McLean stopped 28 of KSU's 33 shots for his 10th win of the season.

TENNESSEE HOCKEY NOTES

Overall, it was a very historic weekend for the Ice Vols program.  Aside from claiming its first Regional Championship, eight team records were broken during the tournament.
• Chris Murphy surpassed the team’s freshman scoring record (57)
• Chris also surpassed the freshman assist record (33)
• Kelsey McLean became the first UT goalie to start his collegiate career with 10 straight victories
The team as a whole also set new benchmarks for:
• Goals in a Season (217)
• Assists in a Season (299)
• Points in a Season (516)
• Most Road Wins (13)
• Most Wins in a season (23)

Individually, Jon Benner moved into a tie for 5th place on the UT All-Time scoring list (154), and Joe Williams moved into the Top 10 All-Time scorers (118). Scotty Holtzman also became the 13th member of the 100-point club at Regionals, he now has 102 points for his career. Coach Steve Durrigan also passed Gary Fowler for second on the team’s all-time coaching victories list (41).  Coach Durrigan already holds the top win percentage in team history (.836).





 
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