Long Island University
As an avid sports fan, there are few things as thrilling as witnessing a historic upset or win in the world of hockey. Whether it’s a last-minute goal, an unexpected comeback, or an underdog team defeating a powerhouse opponent, these moments stay etched in our memories forever. And in the history of Long Island University (LIU) hockey, there have been plenty of such unforgettable moments that have left fans in awe and pride. From upsets against top-ranked teams to championship victories, LIU hockey has a rich history of great accomplishments. Let us take a trip down memory lane and relive some of the most memorable moments in Long Island University hockey history.
The Early Days: A Winning Start
Long Island University‘s hockey program began in 1931 under the leadership of coach Brian McCutcheon, and their first match was against the New York Athletic Club. Despite being a young team, the LIU Blackbirds put on an impressive display and went on to defeat their opponents with a 4-1 score. This first win set the tone for the team’s early years, during which they had a remarkable record of 27 wins and only 10 losses. They also made it to the Eastern Collegiate Hockey League finals in 1937, cementing their position as a formidable team in the college hockey world.
However, the LIU hockey team faced a major obstacle in the form of World War II. With many players enlisting for military service, the team had to disband for a few years. But despite the challenges, they made a strong comeback in the late 1940s and went on to win the Eastern League championship in 1948.
An Unforgettable Upset: LIU Defeats Top-Ranked Army
In the 1950s, LIU hockey achieved one of their most historic wins in a game against the top-ranked Army Black Knights. Army had been dominating the college hockey scene and was riding a staggering 48-game unbeaten streak when they faced the LIU Blackbirds in February of 1951. But in an unexpected turn of events, LIU managed to defeat the mighty Army team with a score of 6-5, ending their impressive streak.
This upset shocked the entire college hockey world, and it became one of the defining moments in LIU hockey history. The team’s success was even more impressive considering their small roster size and the fact that they were playing without their usual starting goaltender. This win also marked the first time that LIU had defeated the Army in a hockey match since 1938.
The Dynasty Years: Three Straight NCAA Championships
In the 1950s and 1960s, the LIU Blackbirds hockey team experienced a period of unparalleled success, winning three consecutive NCAA championships. Under the guidance of coach Frank Murphy and assistant coach Roy Romer, the team established itself as a true powerhouse in college hockey.
The first of these three championship victories came in 1952, when the team defeated the heavily favored University of Michigan with a 6-4 score. LIU’s captain, Jack Riley, who went on to become an influential coach in the National Hockey League (NHL), led the team to victory with two goals and two assists in the game.
The following year, the LIU Blackbirds successfully defended their title with a 4-3 win against St. Lawrence University, marking the first time that a team had won back-to-back NCAA titles. And in 1954, history was made again when LIU captured their third straight NCAA championship against Dartmouth College with a score of 5-2.
Solidifying Their Dominance: Back-to-Back Eastern College Athletic Conference Wins
In 1956, LIU joined the newly formed Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) and immediately proved their dominance by winning the regular-season title with a record of 14-6-1. The Blackbirds went on to make it to the ECAC championship game against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), and this became one of the most intense and exciting games in LIU hockey history.
The game went into overtime, and after three extra periods, LIU managed to score the winning goal with just 38 seconds remaining on the clock. This victory was a testament to the team’s perseverance and never-give-up attitude, securing their first ECAC title.
The LIU Blackbirds went on to defend their ECAC title the following year, solidifying their status as one of the strongest teams in the conference.
A New Era: LIU Hockey Joins Division I
In 2017, after a 30-year hiatus, LIU revived its hockey program and made a historic move by joining the NCAA Division I level. With the men’s and women’s teams competing in the Atlantic Hockey Conference and College Hockey America, respectively, LIU became the first university in the United States to have both a Division I men’s and women’s ice hockey team.
The men’s team achieved their first Division I win against the Army in October of 2019, while the women’s team recorded their first win against Post University in their inaugural season. This marked a new chapter in LIU hockey history, and fans eagerly await what the future holds for these teams.
Reliving the Great Moments
With a legacy spanning almost 90 years, LIU hockey has seen its fair share of historic upsets and wins. From their early days as a young and ambitious team to their current status as a formidable Division I program, the LIU Blackbirds continue to inspire future generations with their remarkable achievements and never-say-die spirit. And as fans of the sport, we can only look back on these memorable moments with awe and admiration, knowing that they have truly made their mark in Long Island University history.