Hogs headed north

After dropping a pair of games to Missouri State (D2) in front of a raucous Springfield, Missouri, crowd, the Ice Hogs (2-6-0) head north to Michigan for the first time in the program’s history.  The team leaves this Friday and will take on Grand Valley State University twice–once on Saturday at 8 pm EST and again on Sunday at noon EST.  As fans will remember, the Hogs split with Grand Valley in dramatic fashion last season.   After dropping game one by a score of 3-1 on Friday night, October 14, 2011, the Razorbacks rebounded in game when Jimmy Nemeth scored in the eighth round of a shootout.  Needless to say, a rivalry between the two programs was born that night.

This year, northern powerhouse Grand Valley is off to a good start.  After posting 4-0 and 9-6 victories over Lawrence Tech University and Lansing Community College, respectively, the Lakers dropped a close pair of games to a talented Robert Morris-Peioria squad this past weekend.  The Lakers are led in scoring by Nic Bectel ( four goals in four games), Dalton Brennon (three goals and an assist in three games), and Chris Norkus (two goals and two assists in four games).  Goaltender Jiri Aberle has backstopped the Lakers for three of their four games and posted an impressive 1.60 GAA in the process.

After the Hogs complete their visit to Grand Rapids, they’ll head south to Adrian College.  Adrian is the defending ACHA DIII 2011-12 National Champion and has gotten off to a fast start this season.  In three games this season, the Bulldogs are a perfect 3-0-0 and have outscored their opponents 12-4 in the process.  The Bulldogs’ balanced attack is led by Colin Gilead (three goals in three games) and Daniel Hudson (one goal and three assists in three games).

From an outsider’s perspective, the Ice Hogs are off to an uncharacteristically slow start.  Prior to dropping to games against Missouri State, the Hogs posted their only two victories against Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville by a combined score of 20-0.  In these first eight games, the Razorbacks have received scoring contributions from players of all classes.  Sophomore forward Forest Mudgett has led the way in overall scoring with four goals and seven assists.  Senior forward Martin Sundstedt has chipped in five goals and four assists while senior forward Johnny Stromp has posted two goals and five assists.  Receiving contributions from a variety of sources is nothing new for the Razorbacks.  “Inside our lockerroom, we expect everyone who is in the lineup to make an impact every shift,” said Head Coach Gallini.   He continued:  “With that in mind, we do not think of ourselves as a top line, second line, etc., type of team that’s populated by specific individuals.  Instead, we work hard to think of ourselves as a deep and well-balanced team.”

This weekend’s trip marks the first time the Razorbacks have ever traveled to Michigan.  Follow their path throughout the weekend by staying up to date on the team’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/razorbackhockey) and their Twitter feed (www.twitter.com/razorbackhockey).