Hockey fans didn't seem to mind the chill and the rain this weekend, as there was plenty of heat to be found in the rinks. The Thunder continued to roll in the northeast, while a few teams received the cold shoulder up in the Great Lakes State. The Fighting Irish were tested early as they opened their quest for another Frozen Four, and the Hoosiers were on fire as they looked to repeat as ICHC champs.
With games as unpredictable as October's weather, here's the roundup from this past weekend...
Jake Evans led the Irish to an opening night victory over the pesky Chargers
Irish eyes were smiling in South Bend this weekend as Notre Dame swept the opening weekend against Alabama-Huntsville. Head Coach Jeff Jackson isn’t exactly grinning though, as his club showed some chinks in the armor that will need to be addressed in a hurry as defending champion Denver lurks just around the corner.
It was easy to see that Friday’s contest was the season opener, as the Irish looked less than sharp against the overmatched Chargers. The speedy club from the deep South tested the Irish often as penalties kept the home team on their heels for most of the second period. Captain Jake Evans took charge in the third, scoring the go-ahead goal and the empty netter to ice the 5-3 win.
Saturday’s skirmish showed some marked improvement, although the Irish continue to spend too much time in the sin bin. This could pose to be an enormous problem against Denver and the more talented teams in the Big Ten, but Notre Dame was able to weather the storm a bit easier this time around. Andrew Oglevie’s one-timer off the pass from Bobby Nardella just before the final second of the first period ticked off swung the momentum in the Irish’s favor, and rookie netminder Dylan St. Cyr (34 saves) made sure they kept it, pitching a 4-0 shutout in his college debut.
Notre Dame plays host to the defending champion Denver Pioneers on Friday and Saturday.
The Thunder continue to pile up the points in their inaugural season
The Thunder continue to make some serious noise in the ACHA D2. Cleveland State hosted the first half of the home & home, but it was the Vikings who were the ones being pillaged. Shattered glass stopped the action momentarily, but it didn’t slow down the powerful Trine offense. The Thunder jumped out to a 9-0 lead before Cleveland State got on the board, as the visitors coasted to a 13-2 road win.
Back at the ‘Thunderdome’ for game two on Saturday, the storm continued to ravage the visiting Vikings. Joe Laskero’s nine points paced the Thunder offense, as Brandon Bornkamp, Chris Timm, and Luka Znidarsic would each register a hat trick in the 19-0 rout.
Trine takes on Grand Valley State in another home & home series. Friday’s game is a road contest and the Thunder Ice Arena will host Saturday’s rematch.
If home cooking is the elixir for a team’s road woes, set the Hoosiers up with a seven-course meal. The boys from Bloomington continued to struggle outside of Indiana, falling to 0-5 away from home after dropping a pair to Aurora University this weekend.
The Spartans were as ungracious as a host could be, outshooting their guests 45-29 in Friday’s opener on their way to a 5-0 shutout. The Hoosiers were unable to take advantage of four third-period power plays, including a 5-on-3 to open the final frame, as the Spartans PK unit found a way to negate Indiana’s speed.
Saturday’s rematch would be a bit more encouraging, as the Hoosiers were able to tally three goals and stay within striking distance. Yet the extended road swing would end much the way it began, with the Spartans rebuffing the Hoosiers’ advances for a 6-3 victory.
Indiana hosts their first official home games of the season at Frank Southern Arena as they take on the Michigan State Spartans on Friday and Saturday.
Unlike their D2 compatriots, the D3 Thunder has seen their fair share of competitive games over the past couple of weekends. Friday’s tilt would see the Thunder fall behind 4-0 before Ryan Dumond would get the home team on the board with twelve minutes to play. The Wolverines would tack on an insurance goal to take the first game 5-1 despite being outshot 58-31.
The Thunder would continue to pepper the Flint net, but Wolverine goaltender Brent Smiles would stop 55 of 57 shots en route to a 3-2 victory and the weekend sweep. Jalan Armstrong would put Trine on the board first, and the Thunder would take the 1-0 lead to the locker room. Flint would battle back in the second and take the 2-1 lead before Adam Bedford would tie the game up in the final minute of the frame. Smiles withstood the Thunder onslaught and kept the game deadlocked at 2-2, giving Wolverines forward Brandyn Matte the chance to play hero by notching the game winner with 0:34 left on the clock.
Trine looks to snap their losing streak next weekend as they host the first game of a home & home series against Central Michigan.
The Irish didn't have much luck in their two-game Michigan swing
With the big club taking control of Compton this weekend, the Irish D3 team would hit the road for a couple contests in the ‘big mitten.’ Yost Arena would play host to game one as Notre Dame would square off against the Wolverines. Michigan would add two second-period tallies to their early 1-0 lead to send the Irish off with a 3-0 shutout loss.
About 30 miles to the east, Saturday’s contest would pit the visiting Irish against the Schoolcraft College Ocelots. The Ocelots would take a slim 3-2 lead to the locker room after the second period, but would come out swinging in the third to knock off the Irish with a final score of 5-2.
Notre Dame has some time to regroup as they won’t hit the ice again until the end of the month when they host the Trine Thunder on Oct. 27
In as much as their D2 counterparts have struggled away from home, the D3 Hoosiers have proven to be true road warriors in the early going. After manhandling Notre Dame and Eastern Kentucky, the Hoosiers headed to Grand Rapids to take on Calvin College. The Knights would learn first hand why the scores had been so lopsided.
The Hoosiers would wage an all-out assault on the Knights net, launching an astounding 69 shots on goaltender Jacob Gregor. Despite the barrage, only Danny Brogan and Devan MacKeller would be able to pierce the armor of the Knights’ netminder. Indiana’s defense would prove to be much more formidable, holding Calvin to a mere fourteen shots on goal. The drastic shot differential was even more incredulous in light of the 2-0 final score.
Saturday’s rematch would seem more like a continuation of the previous night’s tilt, as the Hoosiers would continue to control the puck and the tempo. Indiana would find the back of the Calvin net on four occasions, but unlike Friday the Knights would be able to slip one past the Hoosiers defense. The 4-1 final would give the Hoosiers four straight road wins to open the season, outscoring their opponents 26-3.
Indiana is idle this week, and will open the home portion of their season against the Michigan Wolverines on Oct. 20/21.
Deficits were not a deterrent for a determined Ball State club
While not exactly a marquee matchup, it was fairly obvious that Butler v. Ball State would be an absolute slugfest and well worth the price of admission. These are two developing programs looking to claw their way up the ICHC food chain. Both have some talent on the bench but have struggled with numbers. And both know that beating the other would provide a boost in the recruiting wars.
Game 1 would see Butler run out to a two-goal and four-goal lead only to have the Cardinals reel them back in. Sophomore Jack Becker would open the scoring and give the Bulldogs the early edge. Butler’s Brady Murphy would strike before Ball State would get on the board, followed by Aidan Wilkinson’s tally to knot the score at 2-2. Goals from Jesse Longtin, Ben Otto, and Hunter Byrum, along with a second from Becker would put the ‘Dawgs way out in front. Nick Ramsey would find the back of the net just before the end of the second to close the gap to 6-3. Ramsey would score again to open the third, followed quickly by goals from Sean Bird and Jacob Burke to tie the game 6-6 with nearly fifteen minutes to play. Neither team would score the for the remainder of the period and through the five minute overtime, only to see Murphy net the game winner in the shootout.
Almost as if Friday’s game had been put on replay, Saturday’s rematch would see the Bulldogs jump out to a big lead only to have the Cardinals make a game of it. Will Reichart would put Butler out in front in the first, and Murphy and Otto would stretch the lead to three. As he did the night before, Ramsey would get the Cards on the board just before the close of the second period. Riley Miller would cut the lead to one, and Ramsey would tie things up with three minutes remaining. Reichart would provide the bookend to his first period tally in the extra frame, and the Bulldogs would take home the sweep.
Both teams have some time to recover before their next contest. Butler has the weekend off before taking on newcomer UIndy on 10/20. Ball State is idle until they travel to Angola to square off against the Trine Thunder.
The 'Dons dropped two straight to open the season but didn't go down without a fight
IPFW opened their season with a home & home against the Miami (OH) RedHawks. Despite a hat trick from center Brendan Lewis, along with goals from Tyler Grunden, Derek Moss, and Kevin Baum, the Mastadons dropped the opener at Goggin Ice Arena 9-6. The two teams squared off again Saturday, this time at the friendly confines of the SportONE/Parkview Ice House. The home crowd was treated to a nail biter, but IPFW would ultimately fall in this one as well. Lewis (2 goals), Moss, and Gruden would score for the ‘Dons, and Anthony Davis would tally his first of the season, but the RedHawks would notch one in OT to complete the sweep.
The Mastadons travel to Ann Arbor to face the Wolfpack of Washtenaw Community College on October 13/14.
Purdue's goaltenders were under constant assault from the Flying Dutchmen
Purdue had started the season an encouraging 3-1 and showed some early signs of challenging the Hoosiers recent ICHC dominance. While we’ll get to see that later on this month, the Boilermakers ran into a buzzsaw the weekend that brings up some questions that will need to be answered before then.
Allowing just three goals per game, the Purdue defense seemed to be stout enough to give their potent offense room to work with, but the Flying Dutchmen were less than intimidated. After a few minutes of probing, Hope College started on a tear, scoring four times in 6:37 to open up a big lead. Andy Pietraniec would get the Boilermakers on the board in the final minute of the frame to cut the margin to two. The Dutchmen would restore their three-goal edge at around six minutes into the second until Nathan Smith struck with 3:30 left in the second. Hope would answer back just nineteen seconds later and tack on two more in the last minute to take an 8-2 lead to the locker room. Purdue would get no closer, as the Dutchmen would add three more tallies to make the final 11-2.
The Boilermakers came out Saturday looking to show there was still a lot of fight left in them. The Dutchman again opened an early lead, but Pietraniec and Smith would score in the second half of the frame to keep the game in reach. Hope would stretch the lead in the second, netting three goals in the final 8:07 to go up 6-2 heading into the break. Smith would add his second tally of the night to ignite the rally, with Jack Gilson and Pietraniec chipping in to tie the game 6-6. Dutchman blueliner Elliott Digison would slip one past Purdue netminder Adam Gottwald with two minutes to play, but would keep the Boilermakers at bay to take home the sweep.
Purdue opens their conference schedule on the road as they travel to Lexington to take on new ICHC member Eastern Kentucky on Oct. 13/14.
The Colonels found little to celebrate in the Peach State
Eastern Kentucky ventured southward to Georgia for a pair against Kennesaw State University this weekend and skated into an ambush. After dropping their season opener to Ole Miss 3-2, the Owls having been flying high, averaging an astounding eleven goals over their last four games. The Colonels would fare no better. Fans would bear witness to the massacre in which the teams would combine for 115 shots and a whopping 48 minutes in penalties. Corey Jenks’ goal to tie the score 1-1 in the first period would prove to be the lone bright spot in an all-to-ugly hockey game.
The bad blood would spill over into Saturday’s rematch in which four unsportsmanlike conduct penalties would be called. KSU would open a four-goal lead in the first period, until Timothy Muhsman’s tally in the waining seconds cut the lead to three. The Owls would strike six more times until Game Bahn would add to the Colonels’ ledger with 1:03 remaining to account for the 10-2 final.
The Colonels look to bounce back as host the Purdue Boilermakers for a conference series on October 13/14.