Former Nitehawks captain leads Adrian College to National Championship

Rossland native Archie McKinnon and Adrian Bulldogs KO Fighting Illini to hoist Murdoch Cup

Rossland native Archie McKinnon capped off his senior year by leading the Adrian College Bulldogs to an American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) Div. 1 National Championship after an 8-1 thrashing of the University of Illinois on Tuesday.

The former Beaver Valley Nitehawks captain hoisted the Murdoch Cup after the Bulldogs went undefeated, 4-0, through the tournament. McKinnon was also honoured with the captainship of the Bulldogs to start the year, and like he did for the Nitehawks in 2014, the character, six-foot-five defenceman led the Adrian, Michigan college to a banner season, winning 34 games and losing just once to enter the national championship as the second seed.

The top 16 teams in the country vied for the final frozen-four spots, and Adrian cruised to wins over defending champion University of Central Oklahoma 5-3 in the quarterfinal, before beating Lindenwood College 4-0 in the semifinal.

Illinois was the surprise of the tournament. Going into Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio ranked fifth, the Fighting Illini upset number-4 seed Ohio State 5-4, then knocked off the number-1 ranked Minot State University 4-2 in the semifinal.

However, Illinois was no match for the Bulldogs who dominated the final game. McKinnon assisted on the opening goal as Adrian jumped out to a 2-0 first-period lead, and were up 5-1 by the end of the second period before adding three more in the final frame.

McKinnon’s fourth year at Adrian was his best statistically, as the 24-year-old defenceman contributed four goals and 20 points in 34 games, scoring two game-winning goals and earning 38 pims. The ACHA championship was the first men’s hockey title in Adrian College history.

In 2014, McKinnon captained the Nitehawks to the KIJHL championship, the Cylone Taylor Cup provincial championship, and a Western Canadian Keystone Cup title.

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