Hockey opens home season with sweep over Akron

Joe Mueller

Kent State hockey coach Jarret Whidden earned his 100th win with Kent State this weekend as the Flashes dominated Akron in a two-game series at the Ice Arena.

The Flashes (8-1) took advantage of the Division II Zips’ team, racking up 14 goals between Friday and Saturday in Kent State’s first home game of the season.

“Its good to come out early and get a win in front of the home fans,” junior forward Andy Hannon said. “Definitely gets the momentum going and gets the season off to a good start.”

The Flashes set the pace early Friday night by holding the puck on Akron’s ice for long periods of time. With 1:19 left in the first period, senior forward Mike Lepre broke through on a slap shot from the blue line to put Kent State up 1-0 at the first break.

The Flashes took the momentum into the second period, scoring three times in the first five minutes. Lepre added his second goal on the night off an assist by senior defenseman Bobby Lyle. Less than a minute later sophomore forward Matt Grandinetti scored and a minute after that freshman forward Brandon McPhail netted a goal on a power play.

Lyle scored with 12:23 left in the second stanza to give Kent State a commanding 5-0 lead. After starting goalie junior Anthony Natali was pulled midway into the period, junior Tim Fitzgerald held off Akron’s offense until late in the second period.

Akron’s Brian Burke scored in the final seconds of a 5-on-3 power play to narrow the gap. The second period ended with a fight between Kent State’s Eric Fritz and Akron’s Scott Saba, resulting in a bloody nose for Saba and a 5-minute major and game misconduct for Fritz.

“They hit our goalie,” Lepre said, “and we were just sticking up for the team.”

Senior forward Logan Bannon added an insurance goal midway through the final period to finish Kent State’s scoring.

Saturday the Flashes topped Akron, 8-2. The first quarter started off with a goal by senior forward Eric Horschler.

Shortly after Lepre put one in the net to give the Flashes a 2-0 lead. Following the goal, junior forward Andy Hanno was ejected after fighting with Akron forward Reid Wiley. Despite the efforts of freshman goalie Tyler Ross, the Zips cut the Flashes’ lead in half midway through the first quarter.

Kent State opened the second quarter with goals by freshmen forwards Kyle Weissberg and Scott McKee and back-to-back goals by senior forward Ryan Thomas. Horschler assisted every goal in the period.

Contact Joe Mueller at [email protected].