WWU hockey team wins conference championship

The Western Washington University hockey team successfully defended their top playoff seeding over the weekend, picking up a pair of wins to claim the 2016-17 Northern Pacific Hockey Conference championship at the URC Ice Arena in Cheney, Washington.

Entering the NPHC tournament at the number one seed on Saturday, Western benefited from a pair of early goals from junior defenseman Aiden Knabb as they defeated the University of Idaho 6-4 in the semi-final round.

Holding 5-2 lead with five minutes left in third period, Idaho scored a pair of goals 90 seconds apart to make it a one-goal game, before freshman forward Alex Stoneham put an end to the Vandals’ comeback with a late insurance marker.

On Sunday, the Vikings faced Eastern Washington in the conference final, and broke open a tight game with four second period goals en route to an 11-1 rout.

WWU, which had defeated the tournament host Eagles in all four of their previous meetings this season, poured on the offense in the third period, scoring six more times. It marked the third time this season in which the Vikings reached double-digits in goals scored.

Freshman goaltender Karl Andersson picked up Saturday’s win in net for Western, while junior Robert MacDonald earned the victory on Sunday against the Eagles.

The pair of victories extended the Vikings’ win streak to seven games and pushed their season record to 16-13-2. Prior to Sunday’s triumph, Western’s last conference championship came during the 2013-14 season.

For more information, visit the WWU hockey team’s website at wwuhockey.com.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017 - 8:42am