Kent State hockey winning streak snapped by West Virginia


Kent State freshman forward Lucas Ethington carries the puck forward against John Carroll on Jan. 19, 2018. The Flashes won the game, 9-2. 

Morgan Dunlop

The Kent State club hockey team’s penalty kill has helped them win games this season.  

However, this past weekend, problems with the penalty kill costed the Flashes its first game in the last six.

Friday and Saturday, the Flashes battled West Virginia at the Kent State Ice Arena, winning on Friday and losing on Saturday.

“I think, right now, our penalty kill struggles,” coach Jim Underwood said. “We’ve had a few areas of adjustment over the past few weeks, but we are not quite there yet. We need to get back to the drawing board and focus on the small things. We need to find a way to create our own emotion.”

Forward Sean Moore helped propel his team to victory on Friday night, having a total of four points.

“It felt great to have four assists last night,” Moore said. “It felt like any pass I made could have gone in the net, which was a good sign. Being able to play in our home rink is really nice because we know the boards and the bounces. An even better thing about being at home is our fans. They give us momentum and keep us in games, cheering and rooting for us.”

Goalie Tyler Geloneck gave the Flashes a tremendous effort, allowing no West Virginia goals on Friday.

“Tyler had his first career college shutout,” Underwood said. “He has had a couple games in a row where he has played really strong in the net. As a team, we were fast on Friday, and the result was 5-0.”

Forward Xavier Sudlow contributed Friday night with an assist early in the game.

“Home energy is great,” Sudlow said. “We usually always have a good turnout for our games, and there is just nothing like playing at home. Especially with all the early road games we have played this year. It’s just a comfortability thing.”

Forward John Buttitta had a big game Friday night, scoring two goals and picking up one assist.

“We are still trying to get better at the little things,” Buttitta said. “We need to stop taking bad penalties. It starts with the defensive zone coverage. We didn’t do anything different to separate us from our play last weekend.”

Chance Taylor, a junior defenseman, had some words after the loss.

“Yesterday’s game was a nice wake up call,” Taylor said. “We need to concentrate on staying out of the box, make sure we are sticking to our forecheck and do a better job at possessing the puck. It’s good for our team to face those kinds of challenges early in the season so we can learn from them and help us come together as a team.“

Underwood said West Virginia came out much differently Saturday night.

“I’ll have to give credit to West Virginia,” Underwood said. “They were a different team Saturday. For three full periods, they bought into what they were going to do. They were faster, had more energy and played together as a team. They did all the little things, and they capitalized on their opportunities.”

The Flashes are back in action at 7:30 p.m. Friday against Slippery Rock University at the Kent State Ice Arena.

Morgan Dunlop is a sports reporter. Contact him at [email protected].