BENSENVILLE, Ill. – Former North Iowa Bulls forward Tommy Heinzman is again a national champion, after assisting on the game-winning goal in Tuesday's ACHA Division I national championship game. Heinzman's Lindenwood Lions team defeated Iowa State 2-1, with Heinzman setting up linemate Mike Lozano for the eventual title-winning goal at the 6:37 mark of the third period. The Bulls were guaranteed to have an alumnus on the national championship roster this season. Former North Iowa defenseman Kurt Halbach played 14 games for Iowa State this past season, but was not on the active roster for Tuesday's title tilt.
"It's an awesome experience for both Kurt and Tommy to have the opportunity to play in consecutive National Championship games," said head coach Todd Sanden. "How many people get that chance even once? Back to back at different levels is some kind of achievement. We are proud of all of our players who move on to the collegiate level, regardless of classification. Whether it's NCAA or ACHA, to be at the top of your level is something to cherish and be proud of."
ACHA Division I is the highest level of collegiate club hockey in the United States and some programs, including Lindenwood's, are supported directly by their schools' athletic departments. Top ACHA Division I rosters typically feature players from the NAHL and Tier III hockey leagues, as well as former Canadian Junior A players and the occasional former USHL player or two. Heinzman came to the Bulls at the New Year's break last season, in the midst of his third year with the St. Louis Jr. Blues, tallying seven goals and four assists in 16 regular-season games. He would add four assists in the NA3HL Silver Cup playoffs before helping his team to the USA Hockey Tier III national championship.
The St. Louis, Mo. native is back in the Gateway City, earning 28 points in his freshman season at Lindenwood, including six goals and capping his first college campaign with assists in the Lions' final three games of the national tournament.