For the St. Thomas University hockey team, their 4-1 win over Trinity College in the national semifinals just moved them one step closer to realizing a goal for themselves and one special teammate.
Just seven weeks ago, senior captain Dustan Lick broke his leg after scoring a goal and was expected to miss the remainder of the season, including playoffs, due to the severity of the injury. The team took up the challenge of making sure their leader finished his career where he belonged, on the ice.
“Dustan’s the best forward in our conference,” said Tommies head coach Terry Skrypek. “He was a second team All-American last season and he has missed out on a lot this season including the league championship and the early playoff rounds. When he was injured, it was right after he scored a goal. He didn’t even get the chance to celebrate. The doctor told him he wouldn’t be able to play. I just couldn’t be happier for him.”
Dustan himself was excited to be back and playing hockey in the most meaningful games of the season. “It’s unbelievable,” Lick commented after his first game back. “I watched the guys go hard for seven weeks. They played real hard to get me back and they did it. It’s incredible.”
While the team’s focus may have been directed in getting their captain back on the ice, it’s clear what a healthy Dustan Lick means to his teammates on and off the ice. Junior forward Brady Fougner, who scored the third goal in the win over Trinity, noted the importance of getting Lick back now. “We had one goal, just keep winning until we got him back. His presence in the locker room and on the ice is so big. It’s great to have him back out there.”
Senior goalie Zack Sikich may know Lick best of all of his teammates having played with him for five straight seasons — four at St. Thomas and one in junior hockey in Sioux Falls. “When you think of St. Thomas hockey, you just think of Dustan. He is the hardest working guy out there. He is our spark plug and it is incredible to have him back with us for these games.”
When Lick went down, his teammates donned #11 stickers on their helmets as a reminder of their promise to keep winning until he could return. Upon first seeing the stickers, Lick asked, “What did I do, die?” No, he certainly didn’t die and his Tommies’ dreams of a national championship are alive and well as Dustan Lick leads them into Saturday’s championship game.