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#9 Arkansas Falls in MACHA Semifinal

This past weekend, the Razorbacks traveled to Chesterfield, Missouri to compete in the MACHA Conference Tournament. A single elimination tournament, Arkansas began with a match up against a tough Dordt College team from the MACHA North.

Friday against Dordt, the Hogs jumped on the board early, six minutes into the first period thanks to Junior Jason Gifford. The Razorbacks would add to their lead when sophomore Thomas Verble would find the back of the net in the second period. However, Dordt would respond with one goal before the end of the second period. After a period dominated by the Razorbacks, Dordt found the equalizer late in the third on the powerplay. The game would ultimately head into double overtime where Senior Truman Hirschy was the ultimate hero with 2:45 to go in the second OT. This propelled the Hogs into the semifinal against Mizzou on Saturday.

Saturday evening, the energy for the Arkansas vs Mizzou rivalry at the Maryville University Hockey Center was electric. The Hogs got off to a sloppy start, as Mizzou jumped on the board just 30 seconds in. The Tigers would build their lead to two with one more in the first period. Heading into the second down 2-0, the Hogs made some changes during the
intermission, and they came out hot. Despite this, it wouldn’t be until the last two minutes of the second period when Ethan Rogers finds the back of the net, cutting Mizzou’s lead in half. David Markovich tied it up in the opening minutes of the third, however Mizzou responded with a go-ahead goal midway through the third. Mizzou would net one more empty net goal, and the Hogs would drop the semifinal game against Mizzou, 4-2.

It was the third year in a row the two teams have met in the MACHA semifinals, with Arkansas taking the first, and Missouri the last two. MACHA Silver will see a new champion next season as Arkansas (2022) and Missouri (2023, 2024) will both move to MACHA Gold and ACHA Division II starting in the 2024-25 season.

The Razorbacks season isn’t over yet, as the team will host to Drury (Division II) this upcoming Friday, and Nebraska next weekend for Senior night. The team also awaits the result of the national rankings to determine their seeding for the National Tournament, held March 7-12 in Maryland Heights, Missouri.

#10 Arkansas Sweep #3 FGCU!

This past weekend, the #10 Arkansas Razorbacks hosted #3 Florida Gulf Coast University in an ACHA top 10 matchup. 

Saturday night, Hogs got off to a very hot start as Senior Captain, Kyle Crews, found the back of the net just 27 seconds into the game. FGCU followed up with a tying goal six minutes into the first period, but Sophomore Connor Chapman responded with the go ahead goal just a minute later. Brenden Coon would net one more goal for the Hogs before the end of the first period, and they would head into the second with a 3-1 lead. Brenden Coon would grab his second goal of the game at the beginning of the second period, followed by goals from Ethan Moder and David Markovich, all before the halfway point in the second period. The third period was rather uneventful, however FGCU would find the back of the net to get one more goal before the Hogs could close things out with a final score of 6-2. Senior Goalie, Sam Haynes, received player of the game honors, and the Razorbacks would head into game two with all the momentum.

Sunday afternoon, the Razorbacks started right where they left off with 2 goals in the first. Senior D-man, Brian Romero, would get on the board first. Senior Forward, Kyle Patterson, would follow up with a goal of his own 10 minutes into the game. The Hogs would head into the second period feeling great about their game. FGCU came out hot in the second as they responded with two goals to tie it up heading into the period. The Eagles would respond with one more goal at the beginning of third. The Hogs would claw back for most of the third period, however penalties remained a factor for the Hogs’ comeback. With 30 seconds remaining, Senior Captain, Kyle Crews, found the back of the net to tie it up, and send it to overtime. The Razorbacks made quick work in overtime, and Senior Forward, Trevor Borlace once again won it for the Razorbacks. Trevor Borlace would go on to receive Player of the Game honors, as the Razorbacks walk out with an upset sweep over the #3 team in the country!

The Hogs will return to the ice Friday, February 9th in Chesterfield, MO as they embark on their 2023-24 MACHA playoff campaign. Game time will be 2:00 PM Central as the team faces off against #20 Dordt University.

Hogs Win the Battle of The Ozarks, Clinches Spot in 3rd Straight Conference Tournament

“The Fish” is staying home! After a split on the weekend, and a split in the season series 2-2, Arkansas remained in control of the Battle of the Ozarks trophy by blanking #17 Missouri State in a shootout following their 8-4 victory on Saturday. This marks the third straight season the Hogs will end the season in possession of the trophy.

Friday saw the Hogs get off to another slow start, allowing Missouri State to jump out to a 5-0 lead. Arkansas showed their never quit attitude and came out hot with 3 unanswered goals to start the 3rd period. While pressing on the penalty kill, the Hogs would get caught up ice, allowing a break away goal which stopped the momentum and the come back. Ultimately the Hogs would fall 6-3 to the Ice Bears.

On Saturday, a much different Razorback team hit the ice. Arkansas would control nearly the entire 60 minutes of play in the contest with 3 goals in the first, 2 in the second, and 3 in the third. Arkansas would never surrender the lead, and eventually claimed the 8-4 victory on the backs of Senior Trevor Borlace’s 4 goals and a stellar performance in net by Senior Sam Haynes.

Per the series tie breaker, a 5 man shoot out was held to determine the winner of season long Battle of the Ozarks. In the shootout, Freshman JD Duenwald would score the only goal needed as Haynes stopped all 5 bears he faced.

It was all good news for the Hogs this weekend! Despite the loss on Friday, Arkansas will advance to the MACHA Tournament for the 3rd consecutive season on the backs of a better goals against average in division play than the Ice Bears. Arkansas has never missed qualification for the MACHA Tournament since joining the league in 2021-22. Arkansas would claim the Conference Title in 2022 with a win over Missouri State, and were eliminated in 2023 by eventual champion Missouri. Arkansas will enter the tournament as the 6th seed and will face third seeded Dordt University out of the MACHA North in the first round of the single elimination tournament. The Game is scheduled for 2:00PM on Friday February 9th at The Maryville University Hockey Center in St. Charles, MO.

#10 Arkansas splits With #4 Mizzou in front of Record Crowd at the Jones Center

This past weekend, the Arkansas Razorbacks returned to the Jones Center for their first games of the spring semester as the #10 Hogs hosted #4 Mizzou in a heated rivalry series. 

Friday night was Ugly Sweater night as The Hogs hosted their first jersey auction of the season. It was a historic night at the Jones Center as the game was played in front of a record crowd of 1,038 fans! The crowd fueled the team early as the Razorbacks got things going, midway through the first, when Brenden Coon found the back of the net, assisted by JD Duenwald and Kyle Crews. Shortly after, Trevor Borlace responded with a second for the Hogs as they took a 2-0 lead on Mizzou early in the game. The Tigers would find the back of the net in the final minutes of the first to cut the lead in half. Despite being outshot the first two periods, Mizzou took the lead in the second, scoring twice, and the Hogs were forced to respond. In the final minutes of the second period, Brenden Coon scored his second of the game to tie the game once more, heading into the third period.

Unfortunately for the Razorbacks, the Tigers came out hot in the third period, scoring in the first two minutes of the frame, then again five minutes later. Mikey Gakhutishvilli scored to cut the Tigers lead back down to 1, but the Tigers responded 30 seconds later to seal the game. The Razorbacks dropped game one against Mizzou, 6-4. Despite this loss, it was an amazing night with a record breaking crowd.

Saturday afternoon, the Hogs returned to the ice for game two against Mizzou. Another great crowd of over 700 fans was treated to a fast paced and high scoring contest. Additionally, Sophomore, David “Mac” Markovich made his ACHA debut. Kyle Crews came out hot with two quick goals 1:12 apart. Kyle Patterson would add to the lead a few minutes later giving the Hogs a 3-0 lead. 10 minutes into the first, Mizzou cut into the Arkansas lead with two quick goals in 1:24 to make it 3-2 just 11:00 minutes into the game. Sam Karraker responded with one more goal to make it 4-2 heading into the second.

40 seconds into the second period, the Tigers would quickly cut into the Hogs’ two goal lead, making it 4-3. That would not matter as Mikey Gakhutishvilli scored two in a row, and Mac Markovich got his 1st collegiate goal in his first game. With one more Mizzou goal in the second period, the Hogs cruised into the third period with at 7-4 lead. After running into penalty trouble early in the 3rd period, Sam Karraker would find the back of the net one more time, following another Mizzou goal, and the Hogs would take game two on the weekend, 8-5.

Overall, the Mizzou Tigers took the season series, 3-1.

Arkansas will head to Springfield, MO this weekend for the final two games of the Battle of the Ozark’s series with MACHA rival #17 Missouri State. The games are scheduled for 7:00PM on Friday and 6:00PM on Saturday night at Jordan Valley Ice Park. The Fish Trophy will be on the line as the regular season series is tied at one a piece after the Hogs and Bears split the weekend series in Springdale earlier this season. Both games will be broadcast free on YouTube via Web Sports Radio. The Razorbacks will return to the Jones Center on Saturday February 3rd at 7:30PM and Sunday February 4th at 1:30PM, as the team hosts #2 Florida Gulf Coast University in their first ever trip to Arkansas. 

Arkansas Announces Move to Division II Starting In 2024-25 Season

After 17 seasons competing at the ACHA Division III level, The University of Arkansas Men’s Hockey Club announced that the team would be moving to ACHA Division II starting in the 2024-25 season. With the move, Arkansas will move up within their conference from MACHA Silver to MACHA Gold.

During their time at Division III, Arkansas achieved tremendous success both at the conference and national level. The team amassed an SECHC record six conference titles from 2009 until 2019. In 2022, their first season of competition at MACHA Silver, they would claim their first MACHA conference title. On the national stage, the Hogs have qualified for the National Tournament 8 times, including an active streak of 4 dating back to 2020. The team would finish national runner up in 2021, and fall in the Frozen Four in 2022. Since its inception, the DIII program boasts a 370-111-12 record.

When asked about the move, Head Coach Keller Sims had this to say “I think this is a great step for our program. We have had tremendous success at the DIII level during our history. We looked at the growth of, not only our program, but the MACHA and ACHA as a whole and decided this was the right time and opportunity for us to make the move to the DII level.” Regarding the change in level of competition, Coach Sims added “Obviously it is going to be a big change as far as skill, speed, vision, etc. in players at the top of the DII level compared to DIII. I know we have players on our roster now who can make an impact and succeed at that level. We also know we have to go out and recruit and get players who can step in right away and make an impact. We know there will be growing pains, but we also don’t want to come in and then not be competitive our first few years either”.

Arkansas is slotted to join the ACHA DII Central Region. Unlike the Division III level which utilizes a national ranking, at DII the country is split into four regions, with regional rankings and tournaments held for each to determine the participants in the National Tournament. Within in the Central Region, Arkansas along with rival Missouri, will be advancing to the Gold Division within the MACHA (Mid-American Collegiate Hockey Conference). This division is currently made up of Bradley University, The University of Illinois, Illinois State, 2023 National Runner up University of Iowa, Maryville University, and SIUE.

Arkansas boasts a winning record in their history as a DIII program competing against DII schools. Since Coach Sims’ arrival in 2017-18 the team boasts a 16-2 record when competing against DII programs. Over the remainder of this season, Arkansas has games scheduled against DII Drury University (Home Feb 16, Away Feb 17th) and DII University of Texas (Home Feb 23rd-24th).

Arkansas returns to action at home January 19th (7:30 PM) and 20th (3:15 PM) as they host MACHA South rival Mizzou in a two game set. Tickets are available at the door for $5 and the game will also be broadcast on the teams youtube channel.

Hogs Finish Fall Semester with 13-6-1 Record, Ranked #12 Nationally

Arkansas Hockey finished its fall semester with a sweep over MACHA South foe Dallas Baptist. After cruising to a comfortable 8-3 victory on the back of four first period goals form senior captain Kyle Crews, Arkansas would need to claw back to claim Saturdays contest in a shootout 4-3.

Overall, Arkansas boasts 13-6-1 record and is came in at #12 nationally in the most recent ACHA rankings. The team sits in second in the MACHA south rankings to #7 Mizzou, and is ahead of #11 Missouri State. Arkansas will start the second semester off at home with a two game series against Mizzou followed by a road trip to Missouri State. Arkansas controls their own destiny and would guarantee qualification for the conference tournament with a victory over Mizzou to start the semester.

Following their two conference weekends, Arkansas will welcome #2 Florida Gulf Coast, Drury University, and The University of Texas to the Jones Center to close out their home schedule for the 2023-24 season. If the team qualifies for the MACHA Tournament, it will be held at The Maryville University Hockey Center in Chesterfield, MO February 9th-11th.

Arkansas Claims Route 66 Title, Coach Sims Secures 150th Victory

The #17 Razorbacks traveled to Springfield, Missouri this past weekend to play three games in three days against #7 Purdue, Michigan-Flint, and Ferris State in the Annual Route 66 Showcase hosted by Missouri State.  

Game one against #7 Purdue was a test for the Hogs. Freshman Sam Karraker opened up the scoring for the Razorbacks a little over halfway into the First period. Sophomore Thomas Verble quickly followed it up with a second goal for the Razorbacks to take a 2-0 lead over Purdue. Purdue would respond with two more goals in the second and third periods to tie it up. With less than 10 seconds remaining in regulation, Sophomore Connor Chapman broke free on a breakaway to secure the Razorback victory over a top 10 opponent! 

Game two against Michigan-Flint saw Arkansas jump out to an early lead. Trevor Borlace got the Hogs on the board early, however, Michigan-Flint followed up with a quick one to even the score. Brian Romero would cap things off in the first with another to put the Hogs up 2-1 heading into the second period. Michigan-Flint would score one more time before the Razorbacks would score five unanswered goals, courtesy of Brayden Asher, James Duenwald (2), Kyle Patterson, and Tanner Freeman. The Hogs ultimately defeated the Wolverines, 7-2 to go 2-0 heading into game three against Ferris State.

The Razorbacks would be without captain Kyle Crews after he suffered an injury at the end of the second period against Michigan-Flint. Game three would quickly become the most important game of the weekend, as the Hogs would need to limit goals allowed to less than two to secure the Route 66 Showcase Championship. Fortunately, the Razorbacks did just that. A four goal performance from James Duenwald, and goals from Kyle Patterson, Trevor Borlace, Cade Venuk, Connor Chapman, Tyler Book, and Chris Yonce would put the Hogs past the Bulldogs, 10-1, securing yet another Championship at the Rout 66 Showcase, going 3-0 and giving up the least amount of goals on the weekend!

The victory over the Bulldogs also signified an important milestone for Head Coach Keller Sims. Coach Sims would secure his 150th victory as coach of the Razorbacks. Coach Sims has been behind the bench since the 2017-18 season and has helped lead the Hogs to five nationals appearances in six seasons and two conference championships.

Arkansas returns to the Jones Center next weekend as your Hogs will host division rival Missouri State in the first two games of the four game Battle of the Ozarks Series. Fridays game time will be 7:30 PM and Saturdays puck drop is set for 3:15 PM.

Razorbacks sweep Nebraska, drop both on the road in Missouri

Two weekends ago, the Hogs were back in action following a brief two week break, as they hosted MACHA rival University of Nebraska at the Jones Center. 

Friday night, the Hogs were off to a slow start in the first period, recording no goals and falling behind 1-0 to Nebraska. Jason Gifford was the first Razorback to find the back of the net midway through the second period. The Hogs entered the third period trailing the Cornhuskers 2-1. Despite this, the boys came crawling back with another goal from Jason Gifford, and two more from JD Duenwald and Brian Romero, finishing the game with a 5-3 victory over Nebraska.

Saturday’s game saw the return of junior Grady Reis in net, and sophomores Brenden Coon and Thomas Verble, two crucial pieces to the Razorbacks’ offensive game. It was a big day for the rookies as Brenden Coon recorded the first two goals of the game, followed by Darrell Smith and Sam Karraker recording their first career ACHA goals, and Mikey Gakhutishvili recording another to shut down the Cornhuskers 5-2. 

The Razorbacks outscored Nebraksa 10-5 this weekend, extended their record to 7-3. 

This past weekend, the Razorbacks traveled to Jefferson City, MO for a two game series against MACHA rival, Missouri Tigers. The Hogs entered this game on top of the MACHA South division, with the Tigers right on their tail. Entering this weekend, the Hogs opened up at #17 in the nation for the ACHA DIII Rankings, while Mizzou was ranked at #25.

Friday night, the Hogs felt the absence of much of their core group. With six players out of commission, it was a “next man up” mentality. Mizzou opened up scoring about midway through the first period, before Trevor Borlace made an amazing play, batting the puck of mid air and setting up Cade Venuk for the Hogs first of the game. Trevor Borlace would follow up in the second period with a goal of his own to help the Hogs remain tied against Mizzou. Brian Romero would capitalize on his opportunity playing forward as he would battle hard in front of the net to maintain a tie game against Mizzou’s high level offense. Unfortunately, the Razorbacks ran out of gas in the third period, giving up two more unanswered goals, ultimately falling to Mizzou, 6-3 in game one.

Saturday night the Razorbacks saw the return of captain Kyle Crews and sophomore Tyler Book. The Hogs gave up the first two goals of the game before Sam Karraker was able to find a way to hit the back of the net early in the second period. Less than two minutes later, Ethan Rogers followed up with a second goal to cut the deficit to one for the Razorbacks. After yet another Mizzou goal, JD Duenwald was able to get on the board once again, and the game was tied heading into the final period. Despite Ethan Moder finding the back of the net once more, the Razorbacks would lose the final period again. Ultimately, the Hogs drop game two, 5-4 and are swept for the second time this season. 

The Razorbacks come out of this weekend with a 7-5-0 record overall and fall to third place in MACHA Silver South Rankings. 

The Hogs are on the road for the final time this semester this weekend when the team travels to Springfield, MO for the annual Route 66 Showcase. The team will take the ice against #9 Purdue Friday at 2 PM, Michigan-Flint Saturday at 4 PM, and Ferris State Sunday at 11 AM, all at Jordan Valley Ice Park.

Arkansas Blanks ISU in Weekend Series

This past weekend, Arkansas hosted Illinois State at the Jones Center in the first meeting between the two clubs. Friday night saw the team take control early as they controlled the pace of play throughout the first period. Sophomore Thomas Verble led the way with two goals in the first period. After a scoreless second period that was still dominated by the Hogs, Junior Jason Gifford extended the lead to 3-0 midway through the third frame. The Hogs walked away from this contest, 3-0, shutting out the Redbirds. Thomas Verble received player of the game honors and Junior Grady Reis was recognized for pitching a shutout in the net. 

On Saturday, Arkansas would again dominate, with an early goal from Sophomore Connor Chapman. Following suit from game one, both the Hogs and the Redbirds failed to get on the scoreboard during the second period. The third period was one of the Razorbacks’ best of the season so far. Junior Captain Truman Hirschy started the scoring early in the frame, followed by freshman Cade Venuk eight minutes into the period. Following Venuk’s goal, the Hogs would rattle off four more goals in five minutes of play. Thomas Verble got his third goal of the weekend, Trevor Borlace got his first of the season, and Connor Chapman capped things off by completing his first ACHA hat trick. Overall, Sam Haynes and the Razorbacks shutout the Redbirds for a second straight night, 7-0. Connor Chapman received the Player of the Game honors, and the Hogs improved to 5-3 on the season. Freshman Nolan Hall made is ACHA debut for the Razorbacks.

Arkansas will be off for the next two weekends before hosting the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Friday 10/27 and Saturday 10/28 at the Jones Center in Springdale. Arkansas swept their series with the Cornhuskers in Lincoln last season. The two programs have a historic rivalry that has the seen the clubs meet on both the conference and national stage. Nebraska last qualified for the National Tournament in 2021-22 and finished as conference runner-up at the MACHA tournament to end their 2022-23 season.

Hogs sweep the Patriots in first MACHA action of the year

This past weekend, the ice Hogs traveled to Dallas to take on the Dallas Baptist Patriots to open up MACHA action for the 2023/24 season. 

Late Thursday night, the team came out buzzing as Connor Chapman and Truman Hirschy both scored in the first period to make it 2-0. Mikey Gakhutishvili followed up in the second period to make it 3-0, but that was short lived as DBU scored a pair to cut the lead back down to 1 and make it 3-2 heading into the third period. The Hogs turned it back up in the third and sealed the deal, scoring two more in the period thanks to Connor Chapman and Kyle Patterson. After one more goal from DBU, the Hogs walked away taking game one, 5-3. 

Friday night, the team looked to take care of business and sweep the weekend against the Patriots. Once again, the boys came out hot with two quick goals in the first period from Kyle Patterson and JD Duenwald. The Hogs added three more in the second period, courtesy of Cade Venuk’s first career ACHA goal, Corey Warden’s first of the season, and Tanner Freeman’s first career ACHA goal. Connor Chapman scored his third in two games to close out the second game of the weekend, 6-1.

All in all, the Razorbacks improve to 1-0 for MACHA South Standings and 3-3 on the year as we look ahead to the upcoming weekend when the team returns to the Jones Center in Springdale to host the Illinois State Redbirds on Friday, 10/6 at 7:30 PM, and Saturday, 10/7 at 3:15 PM. It is the first meeting between the programs on the ice. ISU is a member of the MACHA North division and is winless entering the contest following sweeps by national contenders Mizzou and Purdue.
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