Big final tests loom for both DI & DIII

Photo credit: Edward Matthews
Photo credit: Edward Matthews (more photos here)

On December 2 & 3, the Division I University of Arkansas Men’s Hockey team will travel to Springfield, Missouri, to renew their rivalry with the Missouri State Ice Bears.  The teams split a pair of games during the 15-16 season beginning with December 4 & 5, 2015, games in Springfield, where the Hogs earned a 3-1 victory on night one but dropped a heart-breaker in overtime 2-1 to close the series.  Back in Springdale in February of 2016, the Hogs again took game one, this time by a larger margin–8-4–but again missed the opportunity to pick up the sweep by dropping game two in a shootout, 5-4.

The Division I Hogs (6-15-2) will enter the series playing some of their best hockey all season.  Arkansas has gone 3-1-1 in their last five and, most recently, took down Alabama in a shootout at home in front of a capacity crowd (pictured above).  For its part, Missouri State (11-15-0) will enter the series having split a pair of games against Alabama.  After defeating the Frozen Tide by a narrow 6-5 margin on Friday, November 18, the Bears dropped game two 8-5.  Just one weekend earlier, the Bears swept #5 Iowa State by 3-2 and 4-3 scores, respectively.  The puck drops at 7:00 pm CST on both Friday and Saturday.  Ticket information is here and broadcast information is here.

Back in Springdale, the Division III Hogs (10-13-0) will play host to Missouri State’s Division III team (14-4-2) on December 2 & 3.  Arkansas is fresh from its appearance at the Clash of the Corn in Dordt, Iowa, where the team went 1-2 in three games.  After losing to Aurora 6-3 in game one, the Razorbacks rebounded to knock off Marquette 7-3, but then dropped its final contest 8-1 to Wisconsin-Platteville.  For its part, Missouri State’s hot start has cooled somewhat; the DIII Ice Bears have gone 1-3 in their last four.  Most recently, the Bears split a pair of games against Wisconsin-Platteville.

The puck drops at 8:00 pm CST at the Jones Center on both Friday and Saturday nights.  Ticket information is here and radio broadcast information is here.

 

Change of plan: Alabama will visit Springdale

Photo credit: Edward Matthews
Photo credit: Edward Matthews

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Alabama to visit the Jones Center on November 20

Fayetteville, AR – November 11 – In an exciting change of schedule, the neutral site game between the Division I Razorbacks and arch-rival Alabama has been moved to Springdale.  Initially scheduled to take place in Springfield, Missouri, the teams recently reached an agreement for the game to be moved to Springdale.  The critical contest will take place on Sunday, November 20, at 2 pm and will mark the only meeting between the two teams during the 16-17 season.

Ranked for much of the season to this point, the Alabama Frozen Tide (7-6-1) has enjoyed wins over West Virginia, John Carroll, Oklahoma, and Liberty—among others. Last weekend, the Tide appeared at the Buffalo Meltdown tournament where they went 1-2-0 overall.  After dropping their first game to Western Michigan 7-5, the Tide rebounded to defeat Canisius 7-2 before falling on the tournament’s final day to Syracuse by a 7-2 margin.  The Tide will play host to Division III Middle Tennessee State this weekend before traveling to Missouri State next weekend for a pair of games against the Ice Bears before making the short trek to Springdale.

Like Arkansas, Alabama is a second-year Division I team, but the two teams are no stranger to one another.  The historically heated rivalry dates back to 2008 when the Tide swept the inaugural series.  The back and forth series last convened in October of 2015 in Springdale, Arkansas, when Arkansas defeated Alabama 4-1 in both contests.

The teams have just one common opponent this season entering the single game series–Oklahoma.  The Tide split with Oklahoma back in September.  After dropping game one 4-0 on September 15, Alabama rebounded to earn a resounding 9-2 victory over the Sooners the next night.  The Hogs did not have similar success against the Sooners.  Although both games were competitive and saw Arkansas in the lead for significant stretches of the series, Oklahoma ultimately swept the Razorbacks by 5-4 and 3-1 (ENG) scores on September 30 and October 1.

The puck will drop at the Jones Center at 2 pm on November 20.  The game is sure to sell out so plan to arrive early.

DI hits the road to see #16 Midland; DIII welcomes Pacific Region rival

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Photo credit: Edward Matthews

On November 11 & 12, the University of Arkansas Division I Men’s Ice Hockey (4-14-2) team travels to Fremont, Nebraska to take on the #16 Midland Warriors (9-7-0).  The puck drops at 7:30 pm on Friday and 4:00 pm on Saturday.  Midland University will broadcast the games here.

The Warriors enter the series having recently been swept last weekend in a pair of close games (4-2 and 4-3 losses) against #7 Robert Morris.  The sweep aside, Midland is enjoying a stellar season having already compiled a pair of wins against #23 Colorado State University, a win over #18 Indiana Tech, and a shootout win over #8 Jamestown University.  Junior forward Sam Turner leads the way for the Warriors, having already put up 32 points in 14 games.  In goal, 6’3″ freshman Dakota McDonald has started 9 games and posted an impressive 2.60 GAA and .921 save percentage.

Coming off of their lone bye weekend, the DI Hogs are 1-1-1 in their last three games.  The Razorbacks were last in action at home against #2 Arizona State and Arizona.  On October 27, Arkansas dropped a competitive contest 5-2 to Arizona State (listen to a recap here) but rebounded on October 28 to earn a WCHL league point by taking Arizona to overtime before losing in a shootout.  Then, in the third game in three days, the Hogs earned their first WCHL win by defeating the Wildcats 5-4.

Arkansas owns an 6-2 lifetime record over Midland, dating back to 2014.  Last season, the two teams split a pair of games in Springdale before Arkansas swept the Warriors on the road to open the second semester.

Back home, the DIII Razorbacks (7-11-0) will host Pacific Region rival McKendree University (2-8-0) in a pair of games at the Jones Center this Friday and Saturday night.  The puck drops on both nights at 8 pm.  For the Hogs’ part, Arkansas looks to build on the momentum generated by last weekend’s 6-4 victory over Vanderbilt.  November 11 is the program’s first ever Veteran’s Night and the team will wear special camouflage jerseys to commemorate the event.

DI heads into lone bye weekend; DIII welcomes Vanderbilt to the Jones Center

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Photo credit: Edward Matthews

On Friday and Saturday, November 4-5, the Division III Razorback Hockey team (6-10-0) welcomes the Vanderbilt Commodores (4-1-1) to the Jones Center for a pair of crucial conference tilts.  Coming off of a challenging trip to Nebraska, the Razorbacks look to get back to their winning ways against a talented Commodore hockey team.  While in Lincoln last weekend, the Hogs dropped pair of games to the Huskers by 9-3 and 7-1 margins.

As the Razorbacks challenged the Huskers, the Commodores were tangling with the Division I Frozen Tide.  In its biggest win to date, Vanderbilt defeated the Tide by a 3-1 (ENG) margin.  Among other victories, Vanderbilt has defeated Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, and South Carolina.  Vanderbilt will make just its second trip to the Jones Center.  The Commodores last made the drive to Springdale on December 10, 2011, when the Hogs notched a 13-0 win.

More recently, the Hogs and Commodores split their regular season series last season.  On October 10, 2015, the Razorbacks defeated the Commodores by a narrow 2-1 margin before succumbing to Vanderbilt in game two the next day by a 5-0 margin.  The teams met again in the post-season last year when, in the third place game at the SECHC tournament, the Arkansas escaped with a 3-2 win.

The puck drops at 8:00 pm on Friday and 4:00 pm on Saturday.  Friday night is “Pink the Rink” where students with their ID get in free.

Broadcast info:
Listen to a live play by play for both games-
http://mixlr.com/hoghockey/

*Live stream for Friday 11/4-
http://uatvonline.net/watchlive-22/

*Live stream for Saturday 11/5-
http://www.ustream.tv/channel/hoghockey

*Subject to change

#15 Arizona visits Arkansas for Pink the Rink this weekend

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Photo credit:  Richard Hovey

#15 University of Arizona (5-4) @ University of Arkansas (3-14-1)

Puck Drop: Friday, October 28th at 7:30pm
Location: The Jones Center Springdale, AR
Broadcast: mixlr.com/hoghockey
Author credit: http://droptheglovesproductions.com/

The Division I Arkansas Razorbacks will play a two game set against the Arizona Wildcats following their Thursday night loss to the Arizona State Sun Devils, 5-2. Arizona comes into the game off of a win against Missouri State in Springfield, taking down the Bears 5-3, and improving to a winning record.

Arkansas will not be an easy out tomorrow night, and should have the Jones Center rocking as they don pink in support of breast cancer awareness for their annual Pink the Rink night.

Coach Gallini will have a lot of preparing to do in a short amount of time to get ready for the Wildcats.

Three Things to Watch

  1. Hogs Top-Line Production

The Razorbacks have clung to the goal-scoring prowess of their top scorers all year.Tomorrow, the duo of Matt Robinson and Luc Gradisar will have to produce yet again to keep the young Hogs in the game early, and hopefully set up for the win late. Arkansas’ top duo accounts for 35% of their total goals scored this year, and will need to score this weekend to ensure victory.

  1. Arizona’s Special Teams

The Wildcats are not strong in either area on special teams, scoring on less than 10% of their power plays and being an average team when shorthanded. Their success could hinge on being disciplined, and forcing the young Razorbacks into mistakes. Arizona has three players above 15 penalty minutes through just eight games, so staying out of the box and not letting the potent Arkansas power play go to work will be critical in stealing a win on the road.

  1. Time to Step Up

No question Arkansas is still trying to get their legs under them this far into the season. However, the team has not seen a whole lot of consistent production from all of their players on a given night. Every player has shown their talent, and it’s time for them to gel in order to snap the losing streak and get back in the win column. Coach Gallini will be looking to players such as Tobias Sjolund and Alec Morris to step up and show their talent.

Final Analysis

This is a winnable series for the Hogs. Despite the close losses in the past couple of weeks, the Razorbacks really do a whole lot of things correctly. Coach Gallini has given the players the keys to success, but they haven’t quite put together a full 60 minutes in some time, making crucial mistakes in key moments and losing tight games. However, fortunes can change at any time, and catching the Wildcats at the end of a road trip might be the spark they need to get back on the winning track.

#16 Arizona State in town tonight

Photo credit: Richard Hovey
Photo credit: Richard Hovey

#16 Arizona State University (6-1) @ University of Arkansas (3-14)

Puck Drop: Thursday October 27th at 8:30pm
Location: The Jones Center Springdale, AR
Broadcast: mixlr.com/hoghockey
Author credit: http://droptheglovesproductions.com/

On Thursday night, the Arkansas Razorbacks Division 1 hockey team welcomes WCHL foe Arizona State to town for their first ever matchup with the Sun Devils. Coming off losing their last two at home against Illinois State, the Hogs are hoping to get back on track against the #16 team in the ACHA.

ASU returns to the WCHL this season after taking a year off while their NCAA D1 program got under way. The Sun Devils are picking up right where they left off, starting the season 6-1 (2-1, WCHL) while climbing in the ACHA rankings each week. The team that won the ACHA Division 1 National Championship in 2013-2014, and back to back WCHL regular season championships in the two years before their hiatus is once again looking like a contender.

The Razorbacks came into the season with moderate expectations from the WCHL, picked to finish 7th in the league, and have struggled to find their footing. After winning their first 2 games, the Hogs lost 14 out of 15 games, dropping them out of the ACHA top 25.  The record doesn’t tell the whole story as the D1 squad has lost nine games by 2 goals or less. With a system heavy program, Coach Gallini hopes his men can turn their season around by winter break.

Three Things to Watch

  1. Arkansas’ Goaltending

The Hogs have a trio of goalies that can step in on any given night, all of whom have a GAA near or above 4.00. The Sun Devils are averaging exactly 4 goals per game so it can be expected that they will score 4 goals. Can the Hogs offense keep up? With 60 goals in 17 games, Arkansas is just a shade under 4 goals per game. So, whichever Arkansas goalie gets the nod for this game will be relied on heavily to keep the score close.

  1. ASU’s Ostertag(s)

The Sun Devils field a couple of men name Ostertag, Dylan and Ryan. With a combined 19 points on the season, the duo makes up 27.5% of the offense. Add in forward Michael Cummings and you get 42% of all the points on the team. What does this mean for Arkansas? If they can slow the top scorers on the Sun Devils and force the rest of the team to beat them, they can significantly increase their chances of getting the victory.

  1. Hogs in the Pen

The Razorbacks penalty kill has been poor this season. At 76.8%, they rank 318th in the ACHA. With 253 penalty minutes on the year (that’s 14 minutes per game!); the Hogs will be in trouble if they continue this trend. Penalties happen, but they will need to eliminate the unnecessary ones, many occurring after the whistle. The good news is the Sun Devils power play hasn’t exactly been spectacular (10.2%), but it would be best to not even give them the chance.

Final Analysis

On paper, Arizona State appears to be the better team. They have the better record and are ranked higher both in the ACHA and the WCHL. If common opponents mean anything, ASU beat OU 3-1 while the Hogs lost 5-4 and 3-1, and Arkansas lost to Central Oklahoma 3-1 while the Sun Devils beat the Bronchos 7-4 before losing the rematch 3-2. Arizona State will be a tough out for the Hogs, but the final result may be closer than most might think. It’s a long trip from Tempe and when the crowd gets going at the Jones Center, it’s a tough place to play. Let’s hope the fans come out in full force this week and rattle the Sun Devils by Calling the Hogs!

DI finally returns home; set to battle Illinois State

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Photo credit: Richard Hovey

On Friday and Saturday, October 21-22, the Division I Razorback Hockey team (3-12-0) welcomes the Illinois State Redbirds (5-5-0) to the Jones Center.  Coming off of a challenging Colorado swing, the Razorbacks look to get back to their winning ways against a talented Redbird hockey team.  While in Colorado last weekend, the Hogs dropped a trio of games–first to Colorado State last Thursday and Friday, and finally to Colorado University on Saturday.

As the Razorbacks challenged foes out West, the Redbirds were up North tangling with Oakland University.  In their first game last Friday, Illinois State came up just short, losing 6-4 (ENG) but rebounded on Saturday to notch a 3-0 win.  Illinois State will make just its second trip to the Jones Center where the programs will play their seventh and eighth respective games against one another.

Entering the series, the Hogs are 3-3 overall against the Redbirds.  Dating back to last season, the Hogs and Birds split a pair of overtime thrillers at the Jones Center on November 6 & 7 of 2015.  After the Hogs dropped game 1 by a 3-2 overtime score, Arkansas rebounded to win 5-4 in overtime in game 2.  The two teams have already played twice this season earlier this month in Normal, Illinois, where Arkansas first notched a 5-2 win on October 7, but dropped a competitive 5-3 contest the next day.

The puck drops at 7:30 pm on both Friday and Saturday nights.

 

Division III welcomes Kansas; Division I back out on the road

Photo credit: Richard Hovey
Photo credit: Richard Hovey

On Friday and Saturday, October 7-8, the Division III Razorback Hockey team welcomes the Kansas Jayhawks to the Jones Center.  Coming off of a bye weekend, the 5-2-0 DIII Hogs most recently dropped a 5-2 contest to the DIII Missouri State Ice Bears in Springfield, MO.  The Jayhawks enter the series with a 4-2-0 record having just swept the Dordt Blades on September 30 and October 1 by 7-4 and 4-3 scores, respectively.  The two teams met four times last season, with Arkansas winning all four games.

The series between the Hawks and Hogs dates back to the 2009-10 season when the teams split a pair of games.  Then, during the 2010-11 season, the Razorbacks swept the Hawks in the first contests of that season.  Collectively, Arkansas owns a 7-1-0 lifetime record over Kansas.  The puck drops on both Friday and Saturday at 7:30 pm.  Saturday is “Pink the Rink”–the team’s annual event to raise breast cancer awareness.

Meanwhile, the #24 Division I Razorbacks (2-8-0) look to snap a historic eight game losing streak against the Illinois State Redbirds (3-2-0) in Normal, Illinois.  The two teams met four times last weekend and split the series 2-2.  The Hogs first met the Redbirds on September 25 of last season, which produced a 4-2 Arkansas win.  The next night, however, Arkansas dropped game 2 by a wide 8-2 margin.  Back home at the Jones Center, the Redbirds collected an overtime win on November 6, 2015, before the Hogs exacted some revenge the next night–also in overtime–by earning a 5-4 win.

Arkansas enters the series after having dropped a trio of exceptionally close conference contests to #5 University of Central Oklahoma last Thursday and #9 Oklahoma on Friday and Saturday.  The puck drops against Illinois State at 7:00 pm on Friday and 6:20 pm on Saturday.

D1 Razorbacks look to close weekend on a high note

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Photo credit: Richard Hovey

On Saturday, October 1, the #22 D1 Hogs (2-7-0) will look to break a seven game losing streak against the #9 Oklahoma Sooners (3-1-1).  The Razorbacks arrived in Oklahoma City on Thursday night to take on #6 University of Central Oklahoma (4-0-0).  After a scoreless first period, the Bronchos jumped out to a 1-0 midway through the second period.  When the Hogs responded, the two teams went into the second intermission tied 1-1.  UCO broke the tie roughly two minutes into the second period and added an insurance goal minutes later.

Following the 3-1 loss, Arkansas traveled the few short miles to take on Oklahoma on Friday night.  The seesaw affair saw the Hogs jump out to a 1-0 lead after which the Sooners evened things up to make it one apiece.  The teams again traded goals, after which the Hogs added one more at the end of the period to enter the first intermission with a 3-2 lead.  Two unanswered markers for the Sooners, though, left the Razorbacks trailing by one entering the final frame.  Although the Hogs notched the equalizer just a few minutes into the third period, the Sooners scored their fifth roughly midway through the final period en route to a 5-4 win.

Saturday’s matinee affair begins at 4 pm CST.  Fans unable to attend can watch the game online here:  http://ou.edu/tv/watch.html.

Division I headed to Lindenwood-Belleville; Texas Tech forfeits Division III games

Photo credit: Richard Hovey
Photo credit: Richard Hovey

This weekend, the #21 DI-Razorback Hockey (2-3-0) team travels to St. Louis to take on the DII-Lindenwood-Belleville Lynx (3-0-0).

The Lynx open their third ACHA season after two  successful campaigns saw the team amass a 29-2-1 overall record in 2014-15 and a 31-5-0 effort in 2015-16.  Over that time, the Lynx reeled off 27 straight wins during the 14-15 season including posting an undefeated record at home.  The program followed up its 14-15 effort with a Division II Nationals Appearance in the 15-16 season.  With a strong core of returners, the Lynx have already started this season on a strong note with three consecutive victories.

For its part, the Razorbacks enter the series having dropped three consecutive games to conference rivals Colorado State and Colorado (read a full recap here).  After a tight 3-0 (ENG) loss to Colorado State last Thursday, the Hogs succumbed to the Buffaloes on consecutive nights by 3-1 and 5-2 scores.

From a historical perspective, the Lynx and Razorbacks have met on four prior occasions and, in each, the Lynx have come out ahead.  In the fall of last season, the Lynx notched 7-5 and 6-0 victories on their home ice.  Back in Springdale earlier this year, the Lynx again swept the Hogs by 5-0 and 6-3 scores.  Games are at the FSI Shark Tank at 9:00 pm on Friday, September 23, and 9:10 pm on Saturday, September 24.

For its part, the DIII Razorbacks swept Texas State last weekend in two competitive affairs last weekend by scores of 7-3 and 5-4.  Division III will host a Red-White game on Friday at 7:30 pm at the Jones Center following a last-minute cancellation by Texas Tech.  The DIII Hogs will be back in action this Sunday, September 25, against Missouri State in Springfield, MO.