The Arkansas Razorbacks’ ice hockey team has been nothing short of remarkable this season. Just last weekend, the Ice Hogs claimed the Route 66 Showcase championship in Springfield, Missouri, downing Washington University of St. Louis 13-2 on Friday, New Mexico 14-1 on Saturday and Colorado School of Mines 10-0 on Sunday.
They took the ice Saturday afternoon against the Washington University Bears for the third time in nine days. The Razorbacks wasted no time, showing everyone why they are the top team in the Pacific Region of the American Collegiate Hockey Association’s Division III.
Arkansas’ first goal came before the game was 30 seconds old. Freshman right wing Zach Wilson deflected the puck past Bears’ goaltender Sean Daley. Daley made a handful of saves throughout the first period, but the Razorbacks’ time of possession was overwhelming. They tacked on five more goals before the first intermission, including a natural hat trick from sophomore center Nick Valentini.
Despite a six-goal deficit, it was Washington University that opened the scoring in the second period with a breakaway goal. That appeared to serve as a wake-up call for the Ice Hogs, who promptly responded with three tallies in the next two minutes and twenty seconds, including two just ten seconds apart by left wings Kyle Patterson and Griffin Sugasawara. The Razorbacks scored twice more despite surrendering another goal to the Bears to make it 11-2 after two periods.
The third period saw four more Arkansas goals, including a quick power-play marker from senior defenseman Shaun Foster and a pair of tallies from Wilson to complete his hat trick. The Razorbacks’ 15 goals came from 11 different skaters, and an additional six skaters registered their names on the scoresheet with assists.
“The depth on our team is a huge strength,” Arkansas head coach Keller Sims said. “It’s a huge asset for me as a coach being able to rely on everybody every night.”
Freshman left winger Brendan Bomay corroborated his bench boss’ account and offered that Arkansas is “hard to compete with when [they] have all four lines buzzing.”
Sims added that the key moving forward for his team, now 22-1-0, is to enjoy the success, but not to be satisfied and not lose sight of the ultimate goal.
The Ice Hogs’ next two games will be next weekend in Pelham, Alabama, where they will take on the Alabama Crimson Tide. Saturday’s game will begin at 2 p.m. while Sunday will feature a 9 a.m. puck drop. Both games can be streamed via a link available on the team’s Facebook, Twitter (@razorbackhockey) or website (arhockey.westernchl.com.)