A former Portage Terrier forward showcased his talents at the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) National Championship tournament this month.
Carter Barley assisted Minot State University in getting all the way to the finals of the tournament, despite entering as the sixth seed. The St. Andrews product put up two points in his four games at the tournament and says they grew their own fan base in St. Louis during their time there.
"We beat teams like Lindenwoods who are pretty much from St. Louis and it was hosted in Maryville," Barley explains. "When we beat Lindenwoods, all the Maryville fans hopped on our ship because they didn't like Lindenwoods. So, that was pretty cool. Also going on social media and seeing the support from the fans from Minot was almost overwhelming."
Barley notes he received texts from numerous different people he's encountered over his hockey career and says it was really special to be supported by so many. He adds, even though they lost in the finals, it was an amazing experience to play such great teams. The forward says throughout the year they only played a handful of teams because of COVID-19 related scheduling, and when they finally made the jump to the tournament, the level of competition was a lot higher.
"We had the hardest route to go the finals at nationals," Barley explains. "We had to play the fourth-ranked team and the third-ranked team in Lindenwoods, who is making the jump to Division 1 NCAA next year. Compared to the teams back in North Dakota, these teams were a lot more skilled and very fast."
Barley says every game at the tournament could be compared to a game 7 in the MJHL when it comes to the speed and intensity of play. He had 17 points in 23 games in a Terrier uniform and describes what his time in Portage taught him.
"We were anticipating going on a long run and the season ended pretty short. So, I learned to take things day by day and enjoy what you have because it can get taken away from you in the snap of your fingers," Barley says. "You have to enjoy what you have and you can't take it for granted."
This past season with Minot, Barley put up over a point per game in the regular season with 16 goals and 18 assists in just 29 games. At the moment, he believes he will return to the university for another run at a national championship.
"Minot is a great organization and next year we should be a little bit better," Barley explains. "We'll have a little bit more funding-wise next year. I'm on the fence if I'm going to come back or try things out somewhere else but right now I'm thinking I'll come back. Not winning that title puts fuel in my blood a little bit to come back and win a national championship."