Tide’s most successful season ends

Members of the University of Alabama Frozen Tide hockey team celebrate their victory in the ACHA South Regional Tournament while displaying the jersey of fallen teammate David Mosier. The team recently competed in the national tournament in New Jersey. (Contributed)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

University of Alabama Frozen Tide hockey team coach Mike Quenneville didn’t dwell on his team’s March 16 season-ending loss to Cal State-Northridge in the American Collegiate Hockey Association National Tournament in New Jersey.

“At the end of the day, we’re still champions of the SEC,” Quenneville said, referencing the Pelham-based Frozen Tide’s sweep of South Carolina, Vanderbilt and Florida in the South Eastern Collegiate Hockey Conference tournament in late February.

This season was the first time Alabama’s hockey team qualified for and competed in the national tournament, marking the team’s most successful year to date.

By beating the University of Richmond in the ACHA South Regional Tournament championship game on Feb. 18 in Columbia, S.C., the Frozen Tide secured its spot as the No. 3 seed in the national tournament, which was held March 14-17 in Vineland, N.J.

In the national tournament, the Frozen Tide fell 3-7 to California University of Pennsylvania, lost 1-9 to Hope College and dropped a close 6-7 contest in overtime against Cal State-Northridge.

Quenneville said competing in the national tournament was a learning experience for his relatively young team, and said the Frozen Tide will build on the experience in the offseason.

“We went up there and learned a lot. The guys matured a great deal,” Quenneville said.

To date, Quenneville said the Frozen Tide has accomplished five of the six goals the team set when it was founded nearly seven years ago.

Quenneville said the team’s goals were to place in the top 10 in the South, win the South Regional tournament, beat the Auburn University hockey team, win the SECHC tournament, qualify for the national tournament and win the national tournament.

This season, the team reached all but the final goal, Quenneville said.

“We’ve had great support,” Quenneville said. “We are losing five guys to graduation this year, so we are still a fairly young team.”

The Frozen Tide will play its first game of the 2012-2013 season on Oct. 4. During the offseason, the team will work to continue the progress it made this season, Quenneville said.

“We’ve got to go back and keep working on our goals for next season,” Quenneville said.