Columbus, Ga (WRBL) – The Columbus River Dragons completely dominated in the final home game of the season. Columbus defeated Elmira 8-1 to win the Ignite Cup Championship. It’s the first hockey championship Columbus has won since 2012. Even after the final buzzer sounded the players were still on Cloud 9. The team says it was even sweeter to win the title on home ice.
“To win at home is the best thing ever. I mean look at these fans. They’re so loud and they love it and they’re passionate. It’s best fans I’ve ever played in front of,” said forward Jay Croop.
“I mean obviously it feels amazing in front of these amazing fans. They’re awesome all year for us. Man does it feel good after a year like this. I mean wow!,” said rookie Connor Fries.
“It’s been the coolest. This is such a great place to play. It’s such a great organization. The Croops and everyone it’s been so awesome,” said goalie Jared Rutledge.
The River Dragons were very confident they could sweep the series against Elmira. However even the Columbus captain was caught by surprise on how lop-sided Friday night’s victory was.
“We knew that if we came down after the first 5 they’d probably start to fall off a little bit. Coming back from 2-nothing down is tough in the best of 5 series but our game plan was stick to our game plan. Play the full 60 and obviously it worked,” said Josh Pietrantonio.
This was a very unique season, the River Dragons were just one of four team to come back and play in the revamped FPHL schedule. While some may doubt the legitimacy of this year’s title the Columbus leadership praises the hurdles this year’s team had to overcome.
“It’s a crazy year, crazy stuff but good things happen to good people. Obviously we won a championship. You just like to thank all the people that gave us support. Hopefully next year we get to back to normal. When we do there will be close to 75-hundred people in the buidling,” said Head Coach Jerome “Boom Boom” Bechard.
“This will be a special team. This will be a special year. You know next year we’ll get back to I guess normal as you say but it’s good when the adversity is up and we show up and play. To sweep a good team like Elmira it means a lot,” said River Dragons President and General Manager Scott Brand.
The nickname for Columbus is the Fountain City, but Croop believes there’s another appropriate name.
“This is Hockey Town of the South baby!” said Croop.
Congratulations to the Ignite Cup Champions the Columbus River Dragons!