Hockey loses home opener

Chris Yamnitsky

The Kent State Hockey Club suffered a heartbreaking 4-3 shootout loss to the Western Michigan Broncos in their home opener.  

“I feel that we were great in spurts,” said head coach Jim Underwood. “I don’t think this was a full 60-minute game for us. Maybe the excitement of our home opener and a lot of fans had something to do with it. But, either way, we move forward tomorrow. We have to bring it for a full 60 minutes.”

The Flashes started off the scoring at 13:31 of the first period. Junior defenseman Alex Compean scored with the assists going to sophomore forward Jake Haneline and freshman forward Xavier Sudlow. Western Michigan answered on the power play with 0:28 seconds remaining in the period. Shots favored Kent State after the first period 12 to eight.

The Flashes, again, started out the scoring in the second period with a goal scored five minutes into period on the power play by junior forward T.J. West. The goal was assisted by freshman forward Jon Buttitta.

Again the Broncos gave it right back to the Flashes with a goal being scored at 10:16 of the second period to tie the game at 2-2. Kent State came right back a little over two minutes later with a goal scored by Buttitta. The assists came from sophomore forward Chance Taylor and sophomore forward Kyle Schaefer to regain a lead of 3-2. Shots at the end of the period still favored Kent State at 23 to 18.

The third period only brought one goal scored by Western Michigan at 13:04.

With the game tied at 3-3, the teams had to move on to 4-on-4 overtime.  A very uneventful overtime period ended with little scoring opportunities on either side.  After the five minutes were up, the teams moved to a three man shootout.  

Western Michigan started out the shootout with a goal on their first shot. West followed and responded with a goal to tie the score. Both Kent State and Western Michigan missed their second and third shot opportunities. With a tie after three shooters, the format moves to sudden death shootout. The Broncos buried on their fourth attempt with Kent State missing theirs to end the game with a final score of 4-3.  

Special teams played a big role in the game today. The success of the Flashes’ penalty kill continues from last weekend’s games as the team goes 5-for-6 on the penalty kill and 1-for-4 on the power play.

“My concern is that we are on the receiving end of more penalties taken then the other team and that has nothing to do with refereeing,” Underwood said. “We too two bench minor penalties for too many men on the ice. Those are errors and mistakes that cannot happen.”

Sophomore goaltender Sky Buller kept the Flashes in the game and gave them all the opportunities to win against the Broncos tonight.

“Sky is our guy. We are moving forward with him as our number one goalie,” Underwood said. “And if he plays like he did tonight, on a consistent basis, he’s going to give our a chance to win games.”

The Flashes take on the the Broncos, again, on Oct. 10 at Kent State University Ice Arena. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m.

“That was a lot of energy we exerted today. So, I think its important our guys get some good rest tonight ad need to bring the same intensity tomorrow and actually raise the level a little bit more,” Underwood said. “So we have to come back ready to go. There are no days off with league play.”

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