The Arkansas Razorbacks opened the 2023-24 season against Oklahoma State in front of a raucous crowd at The Jones Center in Springdale. After a slow start for the Hogs saw them in some penalty trouble, OSU converted on the power play with around 5 minutes remaining in the 1st period. A few minutes later, goalie Sam Haynes stood tall making multiple desperation saves that would turn into a fast break shorthanded goal for freshman JD Duenwald. Duenwald’s 1st collegiate goal came off an assist from Chris Yonce to even the score at 1 heading to the 1st intermission.
Duenwald was not finished, as freshman Brenden Coon created a turnover that Duenwald would take advantage of for his 2nd of the game with 13 minutes left in the 2nd period. Arkansas would add another 6 minutes later, as junior Jason Gifford found the top left corner off of a faceoff win by Ethan Moder. OSU would find the back of the net in the last minute of the period, but Arkansas controlled a 3-2 lead heading into the last period.
Arkansas stretched the lead to 4-2 early in the 3rd period after a grinding shift by Trevor Borlace and Cade Venuk sprung Kyle Patterson free in front for the insurance goal. Patterson’s goal came in his 100th career game as a Razorback. Arkansas added another with 8 minutes left in the game, this time on the power play. Kyle Crews found Connor Chapman, who drove to the net as freshman Michael Gakhutishvili found the rebound for his 1st career collegiate goal. Arkansas came away with the 5-2 win as Sam Haynes stopped 28 of 30 shots for his 1st win of the season.
After a slow start on Friday, Arkansas wasted no time Saturday jumping out to an early 2-0 lead in the first with goals from Ethan Moder (assisted by Brian Romero) and Connor Chapman (assisted by Michael Gakhutishvilli and Kyle Crews). OSU would answer with 3 seconds left in the period to cut the lead to 1 to end the first frame.
The second period was a penalty filled affair as Arkansas would take 5 consecutive penalties. The penalty kill stood strong, but OSU was able to find the back of the net on one of their man advantage situations to knot the game at 2 a piece. The game would remain tied heading into the third.
Penalties remained the theme in the third period as Arkansas and Oklahoma State traded powerplays to start the period. OSU ultimately would capitalize on two of their chances to put the game at 4-2 in their favor. After a questionable missed high-sticking call led to OSU fifth goal of the afternoon, the Hogs went into desperation mode in search of the equalizer. Despite numerous chances, they were only able to find the back of the net once, when freshman Brenden Coon (unassisted) scored with 1:06 remaining in the game. This was Coon’s first collegiate goal.
After the split, Arkansas heads into a BYE week looking to fine tune their game ahead of their roadtrip to DI Oklahoma on 9/22 and 9/23. These games will be played at the Arctic Edge Ice Arena in Edmond, OK. Puck drop for both games are slated for 7:00 PM. Arkansas and OU traded 4-1 victories in their last series in OKC during the 2021-22 season.