Home Cooking: Hockey team reels off two home wins.

Jeremy Juhasz

The Kent State hockey team was all smiles this weekend and for good reason.

Back-to-back wins over Duquesne on Friday and Adrian College on Saturday gave the Flashes their first weekend sweep since Oct. 23 and 24 and their third sweep of the season.

“It’s good for us,” Kent State coach Jarret Whidden said. “It’s been a couple weekends since we got two wins. We have a tough schedule coming up, so it’s real good for us.”

The win over the No. 11 Bulldogs, a team the Flashes lost to twice prior, was especially important.

“That’s definitely big,” senior defenseman Kye Budziszewski said. “We came in here with a chip on our shoulder.”

Kent State outscored Duquesne 7-3 behind sophomore forward Justin Phenney’s two first-period goals.

Phenney, a transfer from Plymouth State, did it again Saturday, scoring twice and upping his goal total to 22.

“I’m just having a lot of fun right now,” Phenney said. “(My teammates are) drawing attention themselves, so it leaves me open to score goals.”

Whidden said in close wins against good teams, like Adrian, everyone chipped in when needed.

But, he also recognized the importance of his top players stepping up.

“Your good players have to play good, and your role players have to do their job,” Whidden said. “We talk a lot about big games. You need your big guns to play well. You can’t win too often when your star players aren’t playing (well).”

After a run-and-gun style Friday night versus the Dukes, Saturday’s game featured a match up between speed and physicality.

Adrian, a team with plenty of skill, but primarily a team built to deliver bone-jarring checks and play a sound defensive system, was forced to deal with a strong Flashes’ fore check.

“A team that is fast and skates like they do, it’s hard to carry the puck from one end to the other,” Whidden said. “Really dumping it and getting the puck in deep was a key for us. I thought we did it well.”

Another key was senior goalie Ryan Gregory, who made highlight-reel toe saves and flashed his glove on point-blank shots.

“Can’t say enough about Gregory,” Budziszewski said. “He’s our backbone, kid’s a hell of a goalie.”

The weekend wins put the Flashes back in contention to crack the top-15, which will be released later this week.