coach Robb McIntyre said when he came to the Knights four years ago, he was asked by a colleague if he could win a state championship in five years.
"I started laughing at him," McIntyre said. "Then I realized he was serious because he was from Texas," where title expectations often are high for prep coaches.
McIntyre did it in four, coaching the Knights to a Division 3 state title Saturday against Houghton at Compuware Arena in Plymouth.
For McIntyre and the Knights' seniors, Saturday's 3-0 championship victory concludes what the coach said was his "first class" of student-athletes who developed under his system at University Liggett over the past four years.
McIntyre said when he took over the program, ULS was ranked "140th or something," and 135th after his first year.
On Saturday, they were state champions.
"We, and the program and the kids have all grown in time," McIntyre said. "They put up with, you know, two, three weird years that led to this, and they've got to be able to look back on this as something pretty special."
The title didn't come easy for the Knights, though, despite the 3-0 outcome.
"My plan was to go out there and wear (Houghton) down," McIntyre said. "I don't think it ever happened."
ULS and Houghton battled through a scoreless first period before the Knights' James Counsman found the back of the net 2:16 into the second period. He added a second tally at 13:26 in the same period.
Jacob Soyka added the Knights' third goal at 7:37 in the third period.
Lucas Soyka earned the shutout for ULS with 17 saves.
Houghton's Tony Peltier recorded 30 saves.
McIntyre praised Houghton's stamina for sticking with the Knights through three periods.
"I think they played us well as anyone has," he said. "I think they had a good game plan and they had the gas to follow though; it really never got any easier."
McIntyre's players credited their coach's loose coaching style, allowing the players to be creative on the ice.
"We're free to play our style," said senior Jake Hodges. "We can morph to beat pretty much any system, I think."
With Saturday's win, ULS finishes the season at 27-3 overall. Houghton finishes at 24-5.
This story was updated from its original version at 12:15 a.m. Sunday to include additional reporting and quotes.