GAME #4 - ALABAMA 3, ARKANSAS 2 (SO)
PELHAM, Ala. – The Alabama hockey program won, 3-2, in shootout fashion against Arkansas at home on Saturday night. The win marks the program’s first sweep of the Razorbacks since 2014 and just the third Division-I sweep in school history.
Sophomore Taylor Bowman scored the first goal of his Alabama career to tie the game late in the third period. Bowman got assists from Nick Messina and Jon Lovorn. He also scored in the opening round of the shootout for what would be the game-winner.
“That’s a character win,” head coach Kyle Richards said. “The only problem is that – and again, thank god we won the game – in the computers that will show as a tie, and that shouldn’t happen. That was fun. That was awesome, but again if we want to be great, we shouldn’t have gotten there in the first place. So don’t mistake my not excitement for coach is mad. We battled through the circumstances.”
The game remained scoreless through the first period, though Alabama held an 8-6 edge in shots on goal. Even with three power-play opportunities, the team couldn’t get on the board.
Alabama started the second period on the power-play for the first 49 seconds as Arkansas’s Tyler Valentin was still serving a slashing penalty taken with 1:11 left in the first. After an apparent goal by Alabama that went uncalled, Arkansas quickly took advantage of the confusion and fired back with the first goal of the night from Luc Gradisar just 1:26 into the period. Seconds later, Landyn Howze continued the Razorbacks’ momentum with another goal at the 2:43 mark in the period.
The rest of the second period went fairly quietly with just one penalty called on Arkansas’ Valentin for a high stick. Valentin would later leave the game with an injury. As the clock ticked down on the frame, sophomore Marc Demers found the back of the net with 1.4 seconds left in the period to cut the Arkansas lead to 2-1.
In the third, the Razorbacks were called for three penalties. The final penalty was called with just 5:37 to play. Alabama immediately capitalized as Bowman scored the tying goal just six seconds into the advantage. The score remained tied to send the game to overtime. Alabama outshot Arkansas, 38-21, in regulation.
Five minutes of 3-on-3 overtime failed to yield a result despite two very good scoring opportunities for Alabama. In the shootout, UA elected to shoot first. Bowman fooled the goalie and tucked the puck around his pad as he committed to one side of the net. Chris Stovall shot for Arkansas but saw his shot snared in the glove of junior netminder Jesse Gordichuk. Senior Jack Rooney scored in the second round for Alabama, and Gordichuk kept Gradisar’s final attempt out of the net to seal the win.
“It’s a good feeling,” Bowman said. “A shootout’s a little individual. We kind of prefer to win as a team, but it’s still a good feeling nonetheless. You know, it’s just kind of practice. When you shoot on Gordichuk, it’s pretty easy to shoot on any other goalie. It’s just kind of routine.”
Alabama will take three weeks off and be back in action on Thursday, Oct. 12 when the team hosts Utah for the first time in program history. The puck will drop at 7 p.m. CT.