Seven National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) teams compete in men’s hockey for this 2014-15 season, which has hit the midway point. The second half of the season gets underway tonight in Williston, North Dakota as the Tetons are set to host Briercrest College of Saskatchewan.
Williston State (5-9) are the defending back-to-back NJCAA National Champions. With just one other junior college hockey program (4-time champion Dakota College-Bottineau), the Tetons play an extremely tough schedule during the winter. Games are played against NCAA Division III JV teams as well as some of the top ACHA Division I & II teams in the region.
In 2013-14 the Tetons finished 10-11-3 in their regular season. After a two-game sweep of Bottineau in the Region XIII playoffs Williston traveled to Troy, NY for the national tournament. An 8-0 thrashing of Erie Community College in the semifinal was followed up with a 2-0 shutout victory over Monroe Community College to win the title.
Sophomore goaltender Tyler Ampe helped lead Williston State to both championships. A native of Hermantown, Ampe played two seasons (2010-12) of Junior A hockey with the Fort Frances Lakers of the Superior International Junior Hockey League (SIJHL) before attending Williston State.
Ampe is currently a junior at NCAA Division III Northland College of the NCHA.
With 13 regular season games remaining, the Tetons are preparing to make it a 3-peat at nationals in late February. SUNY Broome are host of the 2014 national tournament this season in Binghamton, NY.
Dakota College-Bottineau make their return to the ice on January 13 when they host the Tetons. The Region XIII rivals then play a best-of 3 series on February 6-8 with the winner advancing to nationals.