UTEP Hockey captures second TCHC Championship in three seasons


Isaiah Ramirez, Sports Editor

For the second time in three years, the UTEP hockey team are the Texas Collegiate Hockey Conference Champions after defeating conference rival Texas A&M 8-1 in Mansfield, Texas.

In the championship matchup, freshman forward Carlo Witter scored two goals for the Miners. Witter finished the regular season first in TCHC in goals with 51 and second in points with 109.

Witter was named first team All-Conference for his remarkable season.

Freshman forward Austin Simpson tacked on a goal for the Miners and one assist. Simpson finished the regular season first in assists in the TCHC with 89, while placing first in points with 131.

Simpson was named TCHC MVP as well as TCHC All-Conference first team.

The Miners finished the regular season with a (23-2-1) record, a 15-game winning streak, and earned a first-round bye in the TCHC playoffs. In the second round of the playoffs, the Miners defeated East Texas Baptist University 7-1.

In both playoff matchups, the Miners allowed only one goal and were led by freshman goalie Angus Campbell who saved 21 of 22 shots on net against Texas A&M. In the Miners win against ETBU Campbell saved 39 of 40 shots on net, recording a .975 save percentage.

Campbell finished the regular season with 429 saves and a save percentage of .931. Campbell was also named to the TCHC all-conference first team.

In the Miners matchup against Texas A&M, junior defenseman Kevin Duncan recorded three assists adding to the Miners high-scoring outing.

Duncan recorded 35 points, 12 goals, and 23 assists during the regular season and was named to the TCHC all-conference first team.

For the Miners, this is sweet redemption after falling to North Texas in the second round of TCHC playoffs last season.

“To come up short was a little disappointing, but last year was a real learning point for our players. Coming into this season we had a little bit of a chip on our shoulder and a bitter taste in our mouth and I think that’s what really helped motivate our guys,” Head Coach Tom Herman said.

Considering this is the third year of the TCHC existence and UTEP has claimed two championships, the signs of greatness for seasons to come is a definite possibility. The Miners road to more championships continues Feb. 28 through March 2 in Tempe, Arizona.

With the Miners, TCHC championship victory an automatic bid to the American Collegiate Hockey Association Western Regional Tournament is now set. The Miners’ next opponent is to be determined.

UTEP’s last visit to the ACC tournament ended in a highly contested match up against the University of Denver where the Miners entered as the number seven seed and the Pioneers were the sixth seed.