Hockey splits weekend series versus Oakland

Chris Yamnitsky

Kent State hockey split its weekend series versus Oakland this past weekend. The Flashes (9-5-2) will face-off with Rochester College (9-9-1) Friday and Saturday night.

Game 1

A highly-offensive game came down to the wire for the Kent State Hockey Club as it came out on top over the Oakland University Grizzlies with a 6-5 victory.

“Our offense was firing on all cylinders,” said coach Jim Underwood. “We had a smaller lineup tonight so we only had three lines of forwards and we got offense from all three lines, which is really good for our team. 

Six different Flashes tallied goals in the game with freshmen Xavier Sudlow and Connor Ganley registering their first goals as Flashes. Sophomores Jon Buttitta and Chance Taylor and junior T.J. West also scored goals for the Flashes.  

A last minute penalty by the Flashes gave the Grizzlies a chance to tie the game. With the Grizzlies pulling their goaltender, the Flashes had to battle off a six on four for the last 1:18 seconds of the game to pull out with a win.

“Our guys did a phenomenal job. They played good positional hockey,” Underwood said. “They had their bodies in shooting lanes, sticks in passing lanes and they (Oakland) really didn’t get any other chances the rest of the game.”  

Sophomore goaltender Sky Buller stopped 31 of the 36 shots he faced, while the Flashes ended with the lead in shots at 37. The Flashes take on the Grizzles again on Saturday night at 8:45 in Rochester.

“One of our focuses is going to have a fast start. In our first five minutes of the game we need to set the tone of the game and sustain some offensive pressure,” said Underwood. “We do need to tighten up a little in our defensive zone. Last night wasn’t our best defensive performance by giving up five goals but all we need to do is get grittier in front of our net, help our goaltender with some blocked shots and dig a little harder for those loose rebounds and get them out of harms way.”

Game 2

A slow start to the game led to the Kent State Hockey Club falling to Oakland University Grizzlies 6-2 Saturday night.  

“We came out flat,” said Underwood.  “Oakland had a lot of energy and was ready to go.”

Buttitta scored both goals for the Flashes giving him a total of four points in the two games against Oakland.

“The thing about Johnny is that he is one of the hardest working guys out there,” Underwood said. “He generates a lot of time and space on the ice and always plays for the team. He is developing into a young leader on this team.”

“We are pretty banged up right now so we are going to have to plan practice around getting a few of the guys some rest,” Underwood said. “For defense, we need to work on quick release and having the confidence to shoot through traffic. On offense we need work on supporting the puck this week. We just need to work hard and prepare for two very important league games next weekend.”

Chis Yamnitsky is a sports reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]