Club hockey wins last game before Nationals

Carolyn Drummond

The Kent State club hockey team posted a final win Saturday against Duquesne before it enters the American Collegiate Hockey Association National Tournament this weekend.

The Flashes beat the Dukes 4-3 in Pittsburgh with solid offensive play.

“We played our style of game tonight,” Kent State coach Jarret Whidden said.

That fast-paced, offensive style was especially on display in the second period when all four goals were scored.

“We turned on the offense and went at it,” senior forward Stu Smith said.

Senior forward Chad Melberg tied the game six minutes into the period. Smith and junior defenseman Kye Budziszewski brought the score up 3-1 within the next three minutes. The period ended with a goal from sophomore forward Josh Martin.

“The guys put in a good effort,” Whidden said. “We played a very disciplined hockey game.”

The Flashes stayed disciplined by limiting their penalties.

“We stayed out of the box,” Smith said. “Hopefully, we can stay out of the box against Oklahoma.”

Kent State will face No. 5 Oklahoma at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Gilmour Academy in Cleveland in the first round of the national tournament.

Leading by three, the team used the third period to prepare for that matchup.

“We tried some different things we wanted to work on for nationals,” Whidden said.

Duquesne scored two goals in the third period, one of which was an empty-netter, to bring the final score to 4-3.

The empty-net goal was a result of Kent State wanting to practice playing without a goalie.

“You can work on that in practice, but you need to do it in a game to really get it,” Whidden said.

While the team won at Duquesne, three players represented Kent State at the Central States Collegiate Hockey League All-Star game in a 4-3 win at Illinois.

Senior forward Chris Hourigan and junior goalie Ryan Gregory were both selected for the second year in a row. Sophomore forward Mike Lepre made his first All-Star appearance.

“It was fun to beat Illinois,” Hourigan said. “That’s always a good time.”

Contact club sports reporter Carolyn Drummond at [email protected].