KSU goes 1-2 in weekend hockey matchup

Melissa Sidebotham

Club team loses to top-ranked Illinois twice

Goalie Anthony Natali guards the goal in Saturday’s game against Illinois. Kent State lost 13-1. Katie Roupe | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

The No. 10 ranked Kent State club hockey team went 1-2 this weekend, losing to No. 1 Illinois Friday and Saturday and beating No. 25 Navy Sunday.

The Kent State University Ice Arena was full of screaming fans ready to support the Flashes throughout their hockey homecoming weekend.

Friday, the Flashes held the Illini to only two goals, but those two goals determined the game as the team was shutout 2-0. Goalie Ryan Gregory held Illinois to only one goal through the first two periods.

Gregory blocked 34 out of 35 shots taken at him during fifty-nine minutes of play. The final goal of the game was scored when Kent State had six offensive players on the ice trying to tie the game. Illinois scored with 15 seconds remaining in the game.

After an upsetting 2-0 loss, the Flashes were ready to come back fighting against Illinois Saturday.

However, the Flashes lost 13-1 Saturday night in a fast-paced game full of penalties.

Illinois scored its first goal two and a half minutes into the first period. Two of Illinois’ five goals in the first period came from forward Tom Connell.

Forward Chris Hourigan was so frustrated with his team’s 0-5 first period that he broke his stick in half while heading off the ice.

“We had a long weekend,” Hourigan said.

Six minutes into the second period, Kent State forward John Stefani was ejected for spearing. With another player in the penalty box when Stefani left the game, Illinois had a 5-on-3 advantage. The Illini went on to score two goals within three minutes.

Tensions started flying when forward Chris Binkley got called on high sticking after intentionally throwing his elbow into an Illinois player’s face.

After Illinois scored its ninth goal and with six and a half minutes left in the second period, Kent State made a goalie change. Fans started to diminish with the second period ending with a 9-0 score.

Five minutes into the third period, forward Dave Bruder scored the Flashes’ first and only goal.

Connell answered by scoring a hat trick (three goals in a game) thirty seconds later.

With 11 minutes left in the game, Kent State defenseman Steve Simmerer became the second Kent State player to be ejected after cross checking an Illinois defenseman.

The Flashes went into game three against Navy on Sunday with their minds set on winning.

“We had to fix some things,” Hourigan said. “We needed to make smart plays, and we had some penalty problems the night before.”

Navy came out strong, scoring its first goal four minutes into the game, giving Kent State flashbacks of its previous two games.

A breakaway goal by forward Chad Melberg nine minutes into the game brought the crowd and team to their feet and tied the game.

Navy took advantage of Kent State’s penalties in the first period, but the Flashes weren’t far behind when forward Eric Horschler scored with 11 seconds left in the first period to give Navy a 3-2 lead.

Kent State came out strong in the second period with three goals in three minutes by Horschler, Bruder and forward Mike LePre.

With five minutes left in the second period, forward Eddie Martin was ejected when he was called for spearing after he pulled a Navy player down by the knees.

Forward Jason O’Bannon scored a goal with four minutes left. Navy scored with two minutes left, giving Kent State a 6-5 lead.

Kent State went on to add one more goal, after Navy tied the game at 6, and won 7-6.

The Flashes are now 3-2 in the Central States Collegiate Hockey League. The next two games are at 8:30 p.m. Friday and 7:15 p.m. Saturday at home against Ohio.

Contact student recreation and wellness reporter Melissa Sidebotham at [email protected].