The Razorback hockey club rode a productive second period to a 2-1 victory over the Dallas Baptist Patriots on Sunday afternoon in Springdale. Arkansas returned to the ice for the first time since Feb. 6, and it was apparent in the opening stanza.
“It was definitely flat,” center and team captain Grant Deacon said of the team’s start. “We usually come out a little bit harder.”
Arkansas forward Kyle Patterson potted the game-winning goal from the low slot after a hard-charging Cameron McAtee went coast-to-coast with just over six minutes remaining in the middle frame. Head coach Keller Sims spoke to the importance of his team’s netfront presence.
“That’s something we preach every day, every game, go hard to the net,” Sims said. “Get bodies to the net, be hard to play against, score those dirty goals.”
The Razorbacks spent a good chunk of time in the offensive zone but were unable to find twine or draw a penalty. They finally broke through midway through the second period when McAtee, a defenseman, jumped up in the play and sent a backhand shot to the roof of the goal.
The advantage was short-lived, however, as the energized Patriots shot up the ice with an odd-man rush to even the score just two minutes later. Not even a minute after that, a DBU forward rang the puck off the crossbar on a one-on-one chance down the middle of the ice.
“We had a few defensive breakdowns that really opened up and gave them a little bit of momentum,” Sims said. “They took advantage of it, and luckily only one of those pucks ended up in the back of the net.”
By the end of the second, the Hogs had taken the momentum back with Patterson’s tally and an extended shift in the DBU zone that drew a tripping penalty for the first Arkansas power play of the game. The Hogs were unable to convert, but they played a clean third period and kept the puck away from goaltender Jozef Dusenka to notch their seventh win in as many games.
Sims praised his team’s ability to adapt to the ever-changing schedule, which has been modified due to COVID-19 and travel obstacles. Arkansas added Iowa State to its slate to replace a trip to Nebraska, but the Cyclones were unable to make the trip to Springdale.
“We have a very resilient team,” Sims said. “This year’s been a lot different than any in the past...the guys really just bear down and whatever the season looks like is what it looks like, we just want to win, and I’ve been really proud of them.”
The IceHogs will be back at The Jones Center for two more games against Dallas Baptist, returning to the typical Friday-Saturday schedule. The first game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. March 5, and the two squads will meet for the fifth and final time at 3 p.m. the following day.