Indiana Daily Student

IU hockey looks to end season with senior night win

In just one year, IU’s Division 3 hockey team has made improvements both on and off the ice.

After posting a 29-59-3 record during the past four years, the team sits at 10-10-2 this season and will play its final home game against Michigan at 9:15 p.m. Friday at Frank Southern Ice Arena. The game will also be the team’s senior night.

The Hoosiers are in their first season as members of the Indiana Collegiate Hockey Conference in the American Collegiate Hockey Association along with Ball State, IU-Purdue University Fort Wayne and Purdue. The team is 3-3 in conference play.

IU, having won two of its last three games, will face a Michigan team that holds a 7-12-1 record but is currently ranked No. 14 in the ACHA’s North Region.

The Hoosiers are led by senior captain Nick Kleva, who has been one of the team’s most dominant players with 38 points from 18 goals and 20 assists.

“We’ve had good practices this week to get ready for Michigan,” Kleva said. “They’re a Big Ten rival, and both teams are playing great hockey right now, but our team is focused and ready ?to go.”

The forward will be honored before the game along with five other seniors who are also graduating this year.

Before Friday night’s game, the team will recognize former head coach Richard Holdeman for being elected to the ACHA’s 2013 Hall of Fame class. Holdeman coached the Hoosiers from 1992 to 2006 and led the team to 12 consecutive ACHA National Tournament appearances where it finished three times as runner-up. Holdeman will be honored with a banner with his name raised to rafters of Frank Southern Ice Arena.

Perhaps the biggest addition responsible for IU’s recent improvement, however, is first-year head coach Rich Gordon.

Having previously played for the Hoosiers from 1994 to 1996, Gordon coached at Columbus High School for seven years and led the team to a state championship in 2008.

“This has been a great opportunity for me as coach,” Gordon said.

“I’ve enjoyed working with the entire coaching staff to help the players work toward achieving their goals. We have big goals and high expectations for this team moving into next season.”

The team has worked to correlate on-ice success off the ice and brand itself as an immaculate student-run organization.

This past October the team hosted its inaugural “Pink the Rink” event in its season opener against Ball State.

The game made more than $3,000 in revenue to raise awareness and research funds for breast cancer, and the team will be donating part of its proceeds to IU Health’s Olcott Center.

As the Hoosiers prepare for the Wolverines on Friday night to end their last home game on a high note, team president and forward Cody Reiff said the team is also aiming to finish the season strong in next month’s playoffs.

“We’re looking forward to the ICHC Conference Tournament February 14 and 15,” Reiff said.

“Not only because its the inaugural year of the conference and our chance to prove we’re the best team in the state, but also because we’ll be playing against Purdue for a chance to play for the ?conference title.”

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