The Razorback club hockey team followed its 6-2 opening night win with a 4-1 triumph over Missouri State on Saturday afternoon at the Jones Center in Springdale.
“It was great to get back on the ice after such a long layoff,” Arkansas head coach Keller Sims said in a text message. “You could definitely tell there was rust for both teams early, but I feel we both settled in after the first period on Friday.”
Center Griffin Sugasawara opened the scoring in the series finale with a glove-side snipe from the left circle just over five minutes into the contest. Arkansas dominated puck possession for the first 20 minutes but only came away with the one goal.
The Hogs avoided multiple self-inflicted wounds in the second period, killing five penalties — including nearly three minutes at a five-on-three disadvantage. Tensions were especially high in the first five minutes, with two Razorbacks being sent off for minors away from the play. The penalty box parade continued with a pair of coincidental roughing minors.
Despite all the power play time, the Bears evened the score with an even-strength tally from left wing Ryan Moon over 11 minutes into the middle period. The Razorbacks wasted no time reestablishing their lead, as Sugasawara struck again from the high slot just 16 seconds later.
Arkansas worked quickly to double the lead, cashing in on a scramble in front of the net before the third period was three minutes old. Left wing Michael Ellis poked in the loose puck to record his first goal of the young season.
The Razorbacks committed another penalty just past the halfway mark of the third, but left wing Trevor McLain broke free of the Bears’ power play unit and scored to put a bow on the game. A few seconds later, Arkansas returned to even strength to secure a perfect 6-6 penalty kill.
The IceHogs will hit the rink again next week when the Dallas Baptist Patriots come to town. The first game is scheduled for Friday at 7 p.m. and the two teams will wrap things up at 3 p.m. Saturday. Though there is limited seating available, tickets are available at the door and the game can be streamed via the team’s YouTube channel.
“We are just thankful for the opportunity to get back on the ice and will continue to take the steps necessary to try to keep everyone safe and healthy,” Sims said.