Penn State wins 3rd straight ACHA title

Nittany Lions dominate Illinois in final, 4-0

College Hockey

March 04, 2002|By Mike Frainie | Mike Frainie,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

With about five minutes left in the American Collegiate Hockey Association championship game yesterday, John Curry looked at his wife Janet.

"We're almost retired," John said.

If they had to retire as hockey parents, the Currys picked the right place and time. They watched as their son Scott, a senior defenseman, captained Penn State to the ACHA national title with a 4-0 win over Illinois (24-10-1) at the Gardens Ice House in Laurel.

"We've traveled around the country with him," Janet said. "Minot [N.D.], Arizona twice, Dearborn, Mich. It's a seven-hour drive from our home to State College."

The Currys live in Burlington, Mass., just north of Boston.

"Penn State and the hockey program have been so good for him, I don't know what we'll do now," Janet said.

Scott says he'll be a little lost, too.

"Penn State was the perfect school for me," Scott said. "All good things must come to an end, but I know I'll miss this."

The Nittany Lions (27-4-1) won their third straight ACHA title, and Curry has played in the league final all four of his seasons with Penn State.

"My parents are the best parents ever," he said. "I owe all my success to them. They drove me to all my games when I was a kid, and they're still there now for me. All I ever wanted was to make them proud."

His teammates helped him do that almost from the beginning, scoring 2:40 into the game. Curtiss Patrick skated in from the left faceoff circle and fired a wrist shot past goalie Greg Cooper.

The Lions added a goal less than two minutes later, when Neal Price stole a puck in the Illinois zone and beat Cooper low for a 2-0 lead.

Penn State added goals in each of the last two periods, one by Kyle Jordan and the other by Glenn Zuck.

"We had more legs than they did," said Penn State coach Joe Battista. "We had a day off because we were top-seeded, and they had to play all four days. That was the difference."

Illini coach Chad Cassel begged to differ.

"It was Scott Graham," said Cassel of the Penn State goalie. "He was phenomenal."

For Scott Curry, the moment couldn't have been any sweeter.

"I saw two classes of seniors walk out of here as national champions," he said. "Now I get to, also."

Curry has been named the ACHA's academic All-American for the second straight year. He will graduate with a major in advertising and a minor in sociology.

"That was one of the things that attracted us to Penn State," John Curry said. "They stress academics as well as sports. He's getting a quality education."

"It's always difficult to lose a senior captain, but especially one like Scott," Battista said. "He's a terrific student, and he wears his heart on his sleeve. It took a lot to pry him out of Boston, but I think everyone's happy he came."

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