The Illinois State University Redbirds have reached the ACHA Regional Playoffs for the third consecutive year
. This year they are fighting for a ticket to Fort Myers, Florida and a berth among the Sweet Sixteen at the ACHA Nationals.
Their road will have two barriers to overcome. The first is a challenge by the #4 Lions of Lindenwood University. The game will take place at the new North Shore Ice Arena
A win will result in a Sunday midday match-up with another Saturday winner at North Shore.
So how does #9 Illinois State match-up with the competition. This year looks great.
#3 DePaul >> ISU Overtime win
#4 Lindenwood >> Split series on the road
#5 Ferris State >> Split series at home
#6 Central Michigan >> Split series at home
#7 Michigan >> These two teams have never played
#8 SIUe >> Split series on the road
#9 Illinois State
#10 St. Cloud State (St. Cloud, Minnesota) These two teams have never played and they will not meet in the tournament.
So with the exception of Michigan, Illinois State has played well against all potential opponents in the ACHA Central Region Playoffs. This could be their year to go to Nationals and be a Sweet Sixteen Team
The Redbirds faced the Lions earlier in the season in St. Louis. The first game was dominated by Lindenwood who skated to a 6 to 1 win. Game two was a Redbird victory. Lindenwood scored six once again, but the Redbirds managed to score seven. Ryan Suizdak got the win for ISU, stopping 54 of 60 shots on goal. Goals were scored by; James Wietecha (2), Josh Ambrosat, Eric Brown, Nick Santopoalo, Phil O'Connor and Ryan Dunne. The Redbird defense was active in generating scoring chances with assists by; Anthony Luka (2), John Galvan (2), John Leonard and Nick Santopoalo.
Two wins at Regionals will send the Redbirds to Fort Myers, Florida for the ACHA Nationals. Four teams from each of four regions of the country will compete in a three game round robin within their pool, one team from each of the Central, Northeastern, Southeastern, and the West Region. The top team from each pool will collide in Semi-Final and Championship Games later in the weeklong tournament.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.