On Friday and Saturday, September 8-9, the Division I Razorback Ice Hockey team will open up its third season by taking on the Illinois State Redbirds on the road in Normal, Illinois. Like Arkansas, Illinois State began Division I play in 2015-16.
Coming off of a rocky 8-29-1 season that saw the Hogs finish the 2016-17 campaign #40 in the country, the Ice Hogs enter this opening series 3-5 lifetime against the Redbirds. The Hogs are looking to bounce back from a 1-3 record against the Redbirds last season, including an overtime loss on October 22, 2016 at the Jones Center.
For its part, Illinois State finished the season nearby the Hogs ranked #36 in the nation with an overall record of 11-19-2. ISU saw several changes in the off-season, most notably Bobby DiNardi replacing former head coach Mike Marquardt. Coaching changes aside, the Redbirds signed a trio of impact forwards in Connor Boscaccy, Taylor Dickert, and Robert Kalata. ISU also returns two of its three top scorers from last season–Jeremy Norway and Joey Bower.
The Razorbacks made numerous changes this off-season–adding fifteen new faces to the roster including a total overhaul in net. The Hogs return fourteen players, including last season’s leading scorer Luc Gradisar who scored five goals against the Redbirds in last season’s four games series. The Hogs will be led by their five captains: Jacob Brown (senior), James Haddock (senior), Landyn Howze (senior), Jesse Foskey (senior) and Collin Young (junior).
The puck drops at 7:00 pm on Friday night and 1:00 pm Saturday afternoon.