The Lions would have two teams for the first time in the 2021/22 season, a D2 team and an independent D3 team. The D2 team would be 19-10-0-3 overall and 12-3-0-1 in the CSCHC Regular Season, finishing third overall in the regular season title and finishing in first place. The D3 team would finish 4-3 in their limited schedule. In the playoffs, the D2 team would beat Scranton 5-1 in the Quarterfinals, Millersville 6-2 in the Semifinals and but their bid for a fifth straight Colonial Cup would fall short as they lost 6-2 to the University of Pennsylvania in the finals.
Season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The Lions would go 20-9-0-2 overall and 14-4-0 in the CSCHC Regular Season, clinching the regular season title and finishing in first place. The Lions brought home some more regular season hardware as Mike Lojewski won best goalie, Travis Beni won best defenseman and Coach Andrew Ducko won Coach of the Year. In the playoffs they would beat Rutgers 4-0 in the Semifinals and then beat the University of Pennsylvania 3-2 in the finals to win their fourth straight Colonial Cup Championship! For the fourth straight year the Lions made an appearance in the Regional tournament, this time on home ice at the Lawrenceville School. They faced off against Wake Forest and held a late 2-1 lead before the Demon Deacons would tie with 4 minutes remaining and then win early in overtime to end the Lions season.
The Lions would go 21-12-0-1 overall and 14-4-0 in the CSCHC Regular Season, good for 3rd place. During the regular season they had a huge win against Rider in the inaugural Lawrenceville Showcase tournament championship game, the first win against their rivals in at least 6 years. In the Colonial Cup playoffs they would beat Princeton 4-1 in the Quarterfinals, the University of Pennsylvania 2-1 in the Semifinals and then Scranton 3-2 in the finals for their third straight Colonial Cup Championship. Winning the Colonial Cup also gave them the league’s autobid to Regionals at Liberty University. In the play-in game they beat Rowan 4-3 on a goal from captain Will Dimock with 2 seconds remaining in the third period. In the semifinal game they would give Liberty all they could handle, only being down 2-1 going into the third period but Liberty would win 6-1 ending the Lions season.
The 2017/18 season would be a challenging one for the Lions with a much harder non-league schedule and they dealt with a bunch of injuries to key players. They would get off to a rocky start with a 6-7 record and then they would lose both captains Dylan McMurrer and Will Dimock to injuries in a D1 Showcase tournament. They would battle back to get over .500 after a win over Millersville but they would drop two non-league games against D1 teams Penn State Berks and Villanova to finish the first semester 10-11. The second semester would start the way the first one ended with the team going 2-2-1 in the first 6 games and they would also lose their captain, Dylan McMurrer for the season. But the team gutted out a huge tie at first place University of Penn and then would win their next two games to finish 4th in the CSCHC with a record of 14-13-2. In the playoffs the Lions would beat West Chester in the quarterfinals 4-1 behind a great effort from freshman goalie Will Guttman and would take on the University of Penn in the semifinals. The semifinal game vs Penn was a wild game, Penn would jump up 3-1 and 4-2 leads but TCNJ would come back and take two third period leads that Penn would tie up each time so the game would go to OT. After a couple chances each each team TCNJ senior captain Mike Liscandro would jump on a loose puck, come in on a 2 on 1 and put it five hole for the game winner sending the Lions to their third straight CSCHC championship game. In the finals TCNJ would face Scranton who they had won both regular season games against and the championship game started the same way. The Lions would end the first period up 4-0 and would widen the lead to 6-0 in the second but Scranton would battle back making it 6-4. But after a clutch goal by freshman Dan Martin at the end of the second to make it 7-4 the Lions would score 7 more goals in the third to win their second straight Colonial Cup 14-5 and advance to Regionals at Liberty. TCNJ would face Maryland at Regionals, the Terps would take a 1-0 lead after the first but would blow the game open in the second period with 4 power play goals and would win the game 6-2 ending the Lions season. They finished with a record of 17-14-2.
The way 2015/16 ended it left a bitter taste in the team’s mouth but they did not get off to a great start. They would drop their first three games to IUP, University of Penn and Rowan. They would then win their next seven games and go on a 12-2-1 streak but would drop their last three games of the first semester to finish 12-8-1. The team came back from the holiday break on a mission and they would win their last 9 games of the regular season to finish 21-8-1 and second place in the CSCHC, one point behind Princeton but they still got the first round bye. The Lions would face University of Penn in the semifinals and although the game was tight early senior Cody Reiber would score the first goal and the Lions would runaway with it winning 5-0 behind a shutout from Mickey Avenoso, this would setup a rematch with Princeton in the finals. TCNJ came out hungry for payback and would jump up 3-0 in the first period, in the second period they would get into penalty trouble but the defense and goaltending would stand tall to preserve the lead. In the third period the Lions would pull away and win 5-0, Mickey Avenoso would have another shutout and the Lions won their first Colonial Cup. With the win the Lions clinched the club’s first ever trip the the ACHA Southeast Regionals at Liberty University. TCNJ would make the long bus ride down to Liberty to face Rowan, a team that won both regular season matchups in one goal games. The Lions would have a case of bus legs early and the Profs would make them pay, jumping up 4-0 in the first period. The Lions would never get back into the game and their season would come to an end with a 6-2 defeat, their final record finished up at 23-9-1.
The 2015-16 season brought a brand new coaching staff ; head coach Andrew Ducko, assistant coaches Paul Batcho and Steve Hendershott. With a good leadership core of Sal DiBrita, Kevin Collins, Matt Martin and goalie David Laub combined with a good freshman class the Lions were able to reverse their fortunes from the previous season. They would jump out to an 8-1-1 start to the season sparked by huge comeback win vs St Joe’s when they were down 4-1 with ten minutes remaining, they would finish the first semester with a 12-4-1 record. The second semester the team would go 5-2 and after beating Seton Hall in the last game of the regular season they clinched the CSCHC regular season title. In the playoffs the Lions got a first round bye and then beat University of Pennsylvania 8-3 in the semifinals to advance to the finals where they would play Princeton University for the chance to also get the league’s first ever bid to ACHA Southeast Regionals. The championship game went back and forth with the Lions leading 4-3 late in the third when Princeton would tie the game on a controversial goal that looked to be offsides. In overtime the Tigers would end the Lions season in heatbreaking fashion with another goal that looked to be offsides. TCNJ finished the season 19-6-1-1 which was a 10 win turnaround from the previous season.
After the 2013-14 season, seven GNCHC teams decided to form a new league, the Colonial States College Hockey Conference (either “CSCHC” or “The Colonial). The Colonial includes Millersville University, West Chester University, Princeton University, Seton Hall University, NJIT, and UPENN. The league teams play each other twice and also schedule a series of competitive non-conference games. The Lions have maintained their strong non-conference schedule and hope to receive regional consideration this season. The Colonial teams are now in the Southeast Region. Despite graduating many contributing seniors, The Lions have added a solid rookie class and look to continue their winning tradition.
The bitter disappointment of the early postseason exit fueled The Lions in the 2013-14 season. The Lions were led by senior Captains Scott Rothlisberger, Kush Patel, and Anthony Santisi, as well as seniors John Czarnik and Nick Lisciandro. This Lions team was the deepest in school history with all players contributing on a nightly basis. The Lions received a burst of energy from freshmen Luke May and Will Sulpizio who worked together to form one of the most dangerous forward combinations in the league, as well as sophomore defenseman Gary L’Heureux who transferred from William Paterson University, as well as sophomore defenseman Matt Martin (who was injured for most of his freshman season) and sophomore Sal DiBrita. The Lions also received stellar goaltending from junior goalie David Laub who kept The Lions in every game. Based on its prior season’s success against ranked opponents, The Lions beefed up their schedule and were up to the task. The Lions finished 4-2-0-1 against ranked opponents with two wins against Renssaler Polytechnic Institute (“RPI”), a win against Central Connecticut State University (“CCSU”), a win against rink rival Rider University, and an overtime loss against Rider. The Lions were ranked 13th in the Northeast after the first ranking period. Despite posting a 6-0 record during the second ranking period, The Lions received votes but were not ranked during the second or third ranking period. After sweeping the second semester road trip at CCSU and RPI, the Lions were ranked 14th in the Northeast region, but was unable to earn a Northeast Regional berth. The Lions captured the Eastern Division in the GNCHC for the third consecutive year with a 15-3 league record. During the season, The Lions had a 15 game win streak and did not lose a game in November, December, or January. The Lions were seeded second in the GNCHC playoffs. The Lions defeated 7th seed Rutgers University in the quarterfinal round 5-2 with Scott Rothlisberger leading The Lions with four points. The Lions started slow in their semifinal matchup against Princeton University, trailing 3-1 after the first period. The Lions were determined to win the game and battled back with a goal in the second period and a goal in the third period. The Lions controlled most of the play from the second period on and ultimately won in overtime when senior Captain Anthony Santisi scored the game-winning goal. For the second time in three years, The Lions faced Millersville University in the GNCHC final. Both teams battled back and forth in the final. The Lions trailed 2-1, but senior Captain Scott Rothlisberger tied the game with an end to end rush to net the tying goal. Senior Jed Plester scored a goal in the third period to give The Lions a 3-2 lead, but Millersville battled back to tie the game and send it to overtime. The overtime saw end to end action with each team having opportunities to score the goal to win the title. Goaltender David Laub made several spectacular saves to keep The Lions in the game. After fifteen minutes of overtime, senior Captain Scott Rothlisberger ripped a shot under the crossbar to give The Lions their second GNCHC title in three years. David Laub was named the GNCHC playoff MVP. Scott Rothlisberger was The Lions MVP as he scored over 50 points as a defenseman, including many game tying and game winning goals. The Lions finished the 2013-14 season with a 26-5-0-1 record and as GNCHC Champions.
For the 2012-13 season, The Lions started right where they left off with several early season victories against highly ranked opponents. The Lions earned an invitation to the ACHA Division 2 showcase in Rockville, Maryland. During its first game, The Lions tied Marist 3-3. Marist ended the season as the number 1 ranked team in the Northeast region. In its second game, The Lions battled back against Virginia Tech, a highly ranked team in the Southeast. The Lions erased a 4-2 third period deficit to knot the game at 4-4 with a game tying goal by junior defenseman Scott Rothlisberger. The Lions won that game in overtime on a top-shelf goal by Nick Lisciandro. The Lions’ success carried over into league play, and The Lions captured the GNCHC Eastern Division for a second straight season. During the season, The Lions had a 10 game win streak highlighted by Scott Rothlisberger’s overtime winning goal with 2 seconds left in overtime to end the first semester. Again, The Lions were seeded second overall in the GNCHC playoffs. Unfortunately, The Lions could not repeat as champions, losing in overtime to seventh seeded Muhlenberg. During the season, The Lions received consideration for the Northeast Region. The Lions finished the 2012-13 season with a 16-9-1-1 overall record.
The Lions entry into the GNCHC made it a 15 team league. With strong play from senior goaltender Justin Zegel, as well as offense from sophomores Anthony Santisi, John Czarnik, Nick Lisciandro, and Kush Patel, as well as strong defense from sophomores Scott Rothlisberger and Liam Coffey, senior Captain Glenn Reese, and freshmen defensemen Nick Wilenchansky and Dan Guglielmo, The Lions captured the Eastern Division title of the GNCHC over rivals Rutgers, Seton Hall, NJIT, and CW Post. The Lions finished the regular season with a 20-7 record. The Lions finished 15-3 in the GNCHC. The Eastern Division was the strongest of all three divisions as it sent both wild card teams into the playoffs. The Lions were seeded second in the playoffs. The Lions were firing on all cylinders during the playoffs. The Lions took an early 3-0 lead within the first ten minutes of their first round game against NJIT, which ultimately ended with The Lions winning 6-0. The Lions started early again in the semifinal round against Seton Hall, scoring three goals in the first period and defeating Seton Hall 4-1. The GNCHC final pitted The Lions against number 1 seed Millversville (who beat The Lions early that season). After a tight first period which ended with a 1-1 tie, The Lions came out in full force in the second period, scoring four goals to take a 5-1 lead which included goals from John Czarnik and Alex D’Alessio. Millersville fought back hard in the third period to tie the game 5-5. However, The Lions did not back down, with Nick Lisciandro scoring the game winning goal with a minute left in the third period. Justin Zegel earned the playoff MVP honors. After capturing the 2011-12 GNCHC Championship, The Lions finished the season with an overall record of 23-7.
2009-10 to 2010-11
The Lions were hit hard by a large graduating class in May 2009 and the team was left with very few players. Forseeing this issue back in late 2008, a few members of the team asked adjunct faculy member Les Schriber, who had immense hockey experience at the college level as a player, coach, and administrator, if he would assist the team. He agreed, and that decision saved the Lions from extinction. While TCNJ struggled for two seasons, Schriber rebuilt the team with recruiting and realigning the team back to the GNCHC, taking them out of the MACHA, a league which ironically he had founded in 1998. He made sure the team was in a place where they could succeed and was also able to hire a Head Coach, Joe Cucci, who brought immediate credibility to the program through his playing experience at Avon Old Farms, as an NCAA D-I defenseman at Bentley University, and as an amateur scout with the Edmonton Oilers. Through a two-year process the Lions grew their roster and improved their hockey IQ, and changed the hockey culture from one of informality to one run more like an NCAA D-III program and one of accountability. Schriber welcomed a large and talented recruiting class in September 2011, just as the team returned to the GNCHC for the 2011-12 season.
In 2001-2002, the Lions had a record-breaking year, stunning the league with victories in their first 6 games including one victory over returning champions St. Joseph’s University. The Lions made the playoffs for the first time beating Franklin & Marshall in the quarterfinals and losing to Temple University in the semi-finals. In September of 2002, the team retired jersey #34 in recognition of John Basiak, who graduated in May 2002. John stood in net four years for the Lions and graduated as the team’s first ever goaltender with a winning record.
In 2003-2004, the team finished fourth in the DVCHC but lost to Bucknell in the quarter-finals of the playoffs.
In 2004-2005, the Lions had their all-time best finish, placing second in the league after regular season play. However, the Lions lost a tough game to Temple University in the semi-finals of the playoffs. The team proudly retired the jersey of #23, Brian Godfrey. In 4 years Brian had scored over 120 career goals, more than any other player in the club’s history. He also received the DVCHC league MVP award in his senior year, as well as an all-star selection for all four years he played.
The Lions’ most successful season, thus far, was the 2005-2006 season. Without a coach, the Lions led themselves to the DVCHC playoffs. In the semi-finals, they battled hard and topped the Marauders of Millersville. With this win, the Lions gained their first birth to the DVCHC Championship Series. In game one TCNJ showed the Scranton Royals that they were a team to be reckoned with, winning by a score of 4-3. The Lions lost game two by a score of 4-2, bringing the championship to a third and deciding game. This high scoring final fame ended with the Lions losing by only one goal. Even though they did not bring home the championship, the Lions were proud of their efforts in their first championship series. Freshman Alex Gorden won the DVCHC Playoff MVP Award.
In the 2006-2007 season the Lions joined the newly formed Great Northeast Collegiate Hockey Conference (GNCHC), formed by the six previous members of the DVCHC and Rowan. The Lions finished 9-3-0 in division play, and 12-11-1 overall. The Lions strong divisional play was enough to earn them the 3rd seed in the playoffs after losing a tiebreak to Muhlenberg College. The Lions rolled over quarterfinal opponent Millersville before falling to eventual champion Muhlenberg in the semifinal game. The Lions won the GNCHC Low Goals Against Average Award, and Sophomore Alex Gorden was named to the 3rd team ACHA D2 Northeast All-Star team.
In 2007-2008 The Lions looked to build off their successful first campaign in the GNCHC, which added new members CW Post and Kutztown in the offseason. The Lions went 14-0-0-2 in league games, with their only losses coming in overtime to Scranton and Rowan. The Lions came into the GNCHC playoffs as the 1st seed, and defeated LaSalle in the semifinals before meeting rival Rowan in the championship game. Unfortunately the Lions were given their first regulation loss in league play, dropping a 5-4 decision on a late 3rd period penalty shot. Despite the disappointment of losing in the championship, the Lions had an amazingly successful year going undefeated during the regular season, with Lions players leading the league in nearly every statistical category. Freshman Elie Klein was awarded the GNCHC MVP Award, and was named to the 3rd team ACHA D2 Northeast All-Star team.
Following their successful 2007-2008 season, the Lions applied and were accepted to the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Hockey Conference (MACHA) and competed against such local teams as Rider, Temple, UPenn, and Seton Hall.
The Lions had a lengthy winning streak during the 2008-09 season during their first season in the MACHA. Led by Scott McClintic with his ACHA D-II leading 129 points, Elie Klein (109 points), and Alex Gorden’s key defensive play, the Lions had several key victories including a win against William Paterson University who was ranked #1 in the Southeast at the time. The Lions were ranked 11th in the Southeast at one point in the season, but did not earn a regional berth.
In 1994, Chris McHugh began the team’s first interactions with the Delaware Valley Collegiate Hockey Conference (DVCHC) and the Lions began to play exhibition games against DVCHC member teams. In the 1995-1996 season Mike Balone and Ed Kirwin convinced the president of the DVCHC to bring on Trenton State College as a probationary member team for the 1996-1997 season. The Lions would open in the western conference and play against Millersville University, Franklin & Marshall, Kutztown, and others. The Lions were shaky at first and did not win many games but it was the first year the team was recognized as a legitimate club team, and there was not much funding from the college. In the following season (1997-1998) the Lions were made a full member of the DVCHC. They won their first game in the league as a member team, defeating Kings College by a score of 6-0. Other big games for this season included a win over LaSalle and a tie against Lafayette.
In 1998-1999, the team was put into the Eastern Conference of the DVCHC and was coached by Tim Devlin, who led the team to 4 wins. The Lions boasted 4 all-star selections to the 1998-1999 all-star team, including Joe Griffin, Jesse Shatsoff, Nate Cohen and Ed Kirwin.
In 1999-2000, the Lions again finished the season with 4 wins.
In the early 1980’s the team began playing games against both Rider College and Monmouth College each year and began the team’s venture into intercollegiate competition as an independent team. There was no formal league to play in at this time. The team’s first jerseys, modeled after the original Buffalo Sabres uniforms, were created and the team was largely coached and run by two player-coaches during this era; Eddie West (1983-1986) and Terry Charlton (1986-1989). By the end of the decade the team was playing a 13 game schedule with mostly college teams featuring home-and-home series against Montclair State, St. Joseph’s Academy of the New Church, LaSalle, Wagner, and the University of Pennsylvania. The Lions also played a local competitive mens team called the Central Jersey Hockey Club. During the 1988-89 season the Lions traveled to Uniondale, Long Island to play at the Nassau Coliseum, home of the New Yourk Islanders.The team played SUNY-Stony Brook and came away with a win in a game that was a highlight of the program for many years.
The TCNJ Club Ice Hockey team began in the late 1970’s at Trenton State College with a small group of students who had an interest in ice hockey. They began an on campus club that played intramural pickup ice hockey games on Tuesday nights at the rink at The Lawrenceville School. The club informally continued like this until the early 1980’s when the team began playing two games against other colleges and universities.