Apr 22, 2013 11:07 PM by Greg Smith
Colorado Springs has a hockey national champion--an inline hockey national champion.
The UCCS club team is the best in the country; but not many thought they were very good before nationals started. They were only an 8-seed.
"We thought that we'd have more recognition out here," said defenseman Taylor Gebhart. "We didn't seem to get it. So, we wanted to prove to ourselves that we knew we were the best, and we wanted to go out and play like it."
"It's been a long time since a team from Colorado has even had a good run at nationals," says captain Ryan Pederson. "People assumed we wouldn't be that great out there. But we kind of took it as a chip on our shoulder and had something to prove."
They toppled favored teams all the way to the championship. But things got dicey when they needed overtime in the final game.
"I had this feeling on the bench, that we were that good," says head coach Bill Mulhern. "We deserved to win, and we were going to win. I could feel that through the players."
The feelings proved true when Pederson came through. A game winning goal gave the team that's only been around three years a national championship.
"It's phenomenal. I keep playing it over in my head and thinking 'Thank goodness I buried that puck.' I was in the right spot, got some good passes. It feels great."
"We just started throwing our gloves and I hugged one of my line-mates. I turned and looked, and there were 13 other guys coming at me. We were whooping and hollering. I've lost my voice. It was just an unbelievable experience, unlike anything I've ever been a part of. I couldn't ask for another group of guys to be with."
That core of guys is coming back next year, so watch for a Mountain Lion repeat.