Alabama Defeats Arkansas, 5-2, in Home Opener
GAME #3 - Alabama 5, Arkansas 2
PELHAM, Ala. – The Alabama hockey program won, 5-2, in its home-opener against Arkansas to improve to 2-1 on the season. Stephen MacInnis scored his first career goal, and Taylor Joseph scored short-handed on the empty net in the third period to seal Alabama’s victory.
““There’s lots we have to work on in a 24 hours span,” head coach Kyle Richards said. I know last year we weren’t usually keen to play
the second game when we’d won the first one. I think we’ll take time to dissect this and I think we’ll find our legs. And each game I think we are getting better. If not the effort then the execution.”
Alabama struck first with a goal from Marc Demers at the 10:43 mark. MacInnis had the assist. Both teams had power-play opportunities in the first period, but they were both killed with little to show for them. Early in the second period, with 12:24 on the clock, Luc Gradisar tied the game for Arkansas.
The game remained relatively clean until the latter half of the second period. Things heated up after Arkansas’ Jesse Foskey took a major for slashing Jeremy Hannah. Pierre Oullette scored on the resulting power play with 7:22 left in the period. Later in the frame, Jack Rooney set up Dane Sana for what would be the game-winning goal with 3:29 on the clock.
The third period saw multiple fights break out. The teams had been even with four penalties apiece, though Arkansas led in minutes, 11-8. Just two minutes into the period, Arkansas’ Cal Owens was given a five-minute major for fighting and ejected from the contest. Rooney and Nick Messina picked up roughing minors in the scrum.
The penalties gave Arkansas a 4-on-3 advantage until the two Alabama penalties expired. Thirty-two seconds later, Sine Chadi cut Alabama’s lead to 3-2 on the power-play. Things stayed quiet until the 15:51 mark when Landyn Howze charged Alabama netminder Jesse Gordichuk. He took a five-minute major, and MacInnis was called for roughing in the aftermath.
On the power-play, MacInnis scored his first career goal with the program off assists from Felix Conrads and Nick Messina with 2:51 left in the game. Moments later, Joseph scored on the empty net, while facing a 6-on-4 disadvantage to seal the game.
“Coach keeps talking and talking about driving the net and getting in front of the net,” MacInnis said. “Felix just put one in, and it wasn’t too hard of a shot. He almost saw me there and saw my stick. I’d have to give the credit to Felix on that one he basically placed it right on it. I was just able to get a stick on it and find a goal.”
Alabama and Arkansas will play again tomorrow at the Pelham Civic Complex. Game two of the series starts at 7 p.m. CT.