Division III set to defend SECHC title against conference rival Vanderbilt

Photo credit: Christopher Ley

On Friday and Saturday, September 14 and 15, the Division III Ice Hogs (0-0-0) will open up their twelfth season against SECHC opponent the Vanderbilt Commodores (0-0-0). The 2018-19 Division III Razorbacks have big shoes to fill. After all, the 2017-18 campaign saw the team earn a 25-6-2 overall record, a sixth conference SECHC Championship, and make the program’s first appearance at the National Tournament since 2015. The defending SECHC Champion Ice Hogs enter the series sporting an overall 11-2 all-time record against the Commodores. Two of those eleven wins came last season with one coming in the opening game of the SECHC tournament. The Commodores last defeated the Ice Hogs on November 4, 2016 at the Jones Center in a spirited 5-4 affair.

The 18-19 Division III Ice Hog roster includes nine new faces. Notable among them are Trevor McLain who recently completed a season of junior hockey in the SIJHL with Thief River Falls. The Dallas, Texas, native logged two junior seasons overall, including stints in 2016-17 with the Wichita Jr. Thunder and Dallas Snipers–both of the WSHL. Joining McLain will be Corey Rees, a returner who spent his first season with the Division I Razorbacks where he logged eighteen games patrolling the blueline. Arkansas will lean on returners F-Grant Deacon, F-Jacob Yaseen, and D-Zach Palmer to provide stability as the team settles into the season. Meanwhile, goaltenders Dalton Baker and Alex Kalmes return to shore up netminding responsibilities.

Like Arkansas, Vanderbilt has not yet played a game. After a successful 2016-17 campaign that saw the Commodores earn a 13-5-1 overall record, the program logged a 4-11-1 overall record last season. The puck drops at 7:30 PM on the 14th and 11:00 AM on the 15th at the Jones Center in Springdale. Ticket information and lodging options for out of town guests is available here.

The University of Arkansas fields two hockey teams. The Division I team recently released its 2018-19 schedule (view here). It has, since 2015, competed in the Western Collegiate Hockey Conference (learn more here). The Division I Razorbacks will open the 2018-19 campaign at home on October 4 against league-rival Arizona State.