The Division I Razorbacks (14-11-2) kicked off 2016 the right way, with a sweep of the Midland Warriors (13-8-4) on Thursday and Friday, January 14 & 15. The two teams met in Springdale back on November 13 & 14 when the Razorbacks notched a victory in game one–4-3 in overtime–but dropped game two in regulation 3-2.
Despite the pair of close November contests, the start of 2016 placed some distance between the two teams as the Razorbacks cumulatively outscored the Warriors 9-4 in two games and never trailed in six total periods. The pair of wins marked the second sweep for the Hogs of a Division I opponent this season–the first being a pair of 4-1 wins over Alabama on 10/30 & 10/31.
The Lynx of Lindenwood-Belleville are next up for the Division I Razorbacks. In the Razorbacks’ first series of the 15-16 season, the Lynx swept the Hogs by 7-5 and 6-0 scores on September 11 & 12. Although Arkansas jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first September game, the Lynx climbed back into the see-saw affair to earn the victory behind five power play goals. Game two of that early season series was far less competitive; the Lynx poured on fifty-four shots and never trailed in the shutout effort.
Since then, Lindenwood-Belleville has amassed an impressive 19-4-0 overall record–a record that includes a shootout victory over Oklahoma. Brad Edwards paces the Lynx offensively with 31 points (16 G, 15 A) while both Kyle Miller (8-2-0, 2.29 GAA) and Jackson Germaine (10-2-0, 2.49 GAA) share goaltending responsibilities.
The upcoming series with the Lynx comes at a critical time when the Hogs look to make their final push toward the post-season. With the Midland series complete, the Razorbacks will play their next eight consecutive games on home ice. “It’s pretty simple: we need our crowd,” said DI Head Coach Brian Gallini. “We’ve always derived tremendous strength from our fans and this push will be no different.”
But this push is different–at least for the record books. No program in the history of the ACHA has jumped from Division III to Division I and earned a trip to the Division I National Tournament in the first year. Over the course of this month, Arkansas will look to do just that.
Face-off times are 8:30 pm on Friday, January 22, and 7:30 pm on Saturday, January 23.