Puck’s in for Oxford Ice Hockey

“5…4…3…2…1…” counted down the time-keeping official, after which the Oxford Blues were crowned the national champions of British Universities Ice Hockey.
Let’s backtrack 24 hours: “The last time Oxford won a national title of any kind, to the best of my knowledge, was in 1933,” read aloud Captain Julian de Hoog to his teammates at the team barbeque from the printed email he had received from team historian Michael “Moose” Talbot. The weight of history bore down on the Blues’ shoulders in that moment. But that wasn’t the only thing to be worried about: over half the team had not played a proper hockey game in six weeks, and the other half hadn’t done so in at least five due to difficulties scheduling on-ice practices over the Easter vacation.
The team was out of shape, and would also be missing its starting goaltender due to illness. David Putnins had been the team’s solid backstop in every league match, save one, during the season, posting league-leading stats. With him out, young Andy Peterson, called up from Oxford’s Tier II squad to play in his first Tier I league match, had some big shoes to fill.
But the next day the Blues showed why Oxford was ranked number one in BUIHA power rankings, capping off a perfect season with a 6-2 victory over the Nottingham Mavericks. The team took a while to shake off the rust, going down 1-0 and 2-1, but after shaking up the lines a little and a spectacular breakaway save by Peterson, all the pistons fired up and there was no turning back.
Oxford’s relentless forecheck caused numerous Maverick turnovers and produced a slew of offensive opportunities. The Blues notched five unanswered goals in the second and third periods. This was complemented by a shut-down performance from Peterson and the Oxford defense.
Due to technical difficulties the last six minutes had to be recorded on a stop watch and the time called out between whistles. Receiving the cup was the capping of a spectacular and unprecedented season for Oxford.
“Every player on the winning team gets their name on that trophy, and every player deserves it for the performance they put out tonight” stated Captain de Hoog.
Lubbock reflected on his feeling of relief, “not only on winning the British University League but also on maintaining our 100% winning record. I also felt good…for the OUIHC, which now has another chapter in its illustrious history.”