Crimson Hawks Soar: Dominate CHMA and Advance to ACHA Nationals

Photo by Hague Photography

Indiana, PA – February 18, 2024

In an electrifying weekend of college hockey, the Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) Crimson Hawks have not only defended their CHMA regular-season title but also clinched the playoff championship in commanding fashion. Their playoff victories over Kent State (7-2) and John Carroll (8-5) underscore a historic achievement in the College Hockey Mid-America (CHMA) league, marking the first time a team has captured both the season and playoff championships in consecutive years.

The Crimson Hawks concluded their league campaign with a formidable 13-1 record, advancing their overall season to an impressive 24-7-1. These back-to-back playoff victories have guaranteed IUP a place in the ACHA National Tournament in St. Louis, Missouri, showcasing their prowess as a powerhouse in collegiate ice hockey. This appearance marks the third time since 2020 that IUP will compete for the national title, a testament to the program’s sustained excellence and resilience.

Jace Rearic, donning the #25 jersey, emerged as a pivotal figure in the playoffs, earning the CHMA Playoff MVP title. Rearic’s performance was nothing short of spectacular, demonstrating IUP’s offensive firepower, contributing 5 goals and 1 assists in the weekend. 

Reflecting on the season and playoff triumphs, Head Coach Joe Honzo praised the team’s unwavering commitment and hard work. “Winning the CHMA regular season was a significant achievement, but to follow that with a playoff championship in such a decisive manner speaks volumes about the character and talent of this team,”  Honzo further remarked the importance of Assistant Coach Glavach putting together a play fast mindset that incorporated speed, skill and superior depth. 

The Crimson Hawks finished with a strong presence in the CHMA top scorers. Five Hawks soared atop the scoring charts, including the #1 and #2 CHMA scoring leaders. Trent Lunden led the charge with 24 goals and 22 assists, amassing 46 points, Jace Rearic with 19 goals and 27 assists totaling 46 points. Not far behind, Miller clinched the fifth spot with 42 points from 19 goals and 23 assists, with Maddox Rearic and Jordan Adams rounding out the top scorers at seventh and ninth, contributing 38 and 36 points respectively.

As IUP sets its sights on the ACHA National Tournament, the team is aware of the heightened competition and the opportunity to cement their legacy in CHMA history. The path to the national championship is fraught with difficult opponents and the Crimson Hawks have demonstrated time and again that they thrive in the face of adversity.

The significance of their achievements this season extends beyond the confines of the CHMA, signaling IUP’s emergence as a beacon of excellence in ACHA college hockey. With the national tournament on the horizon, the Crimson Hawks are not just participants; they are contenders, ready to showcase their skills, determination, and the heart of champions on the national stage.