Omaha, Nebraska was the location of the 2011 ACHA Pacific Regional Tournament. The ACHA Pacific Regional Tournament is an 8 team, playoff style, single elimination tournament with only 2 teams advancing to the national tournament. The tournament featured the 3rd through 10th ranked ACHA teams in the pacific region (in ranking order); Iowa State University, University of Nebraska, University of Colorado, Cal State Northridge, University of Iowa, Santa Rosa Junior College, South Dakota State University, and Northern Arizona University.
In the first round, the #8 SRJC Polar Bears upset the heavily favored #5 University of Colorado by a score of 5 to 4. The game featured back and forth action with both team countering each goal with another. The SRJC Polar Bears had goals from John Keshishian, Errol Garcia, Bryan Vrba, and 2 goals from Kurt Jones including the game winner. Goaltender Danny Roy played incredible, making 45 saves. The Polar Bears are only the second team in history to defeat a # 5 ranked team in the first round of the regional tournament.
With the first round victory, the Polar Bears advanced to the final round of the regional tournament with a matchup against #3 ranked Iowa State University. The Polar Bears came out flat for the first 30 minutes of the game, woke up for the last 30 minutes with good play, but the damage was done as Iowa State University scored 5 goals against the sleeping Polar Bears. “If you take your game down for any period of time against a team as fast and as disciplined as Iowa State, they’ll capitalize and make you pay for it,” remarked Coach Tom Billeter. SRJC was unable to pull off a second upset and lost with a final score of 5 to 3.
Despite not advancing to the national tournament, the Polar Bears had an extremely successful season and have turned many heads in the ACHA. By making it to the final round of the regional tournament in only the second year of reestablishment, the Polar Bears have proven that they are a strong club that is growing quickly.