On Saturday night, February 8, Arkansas took on South Carolina — the #3 ranked team in the South. The Hogs jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period, but then played the Gamecocks even in the second frame as both teams potted a pair of goals. With a 5-2 lead entering the third, the Razorbacks exploded for six goals en route to an 11-2 final and a trip the SEC conference finals.
In the SEC Championship game on Sunday, February 10, Arkansas overcame a one goal deficit by scoring two power play goals in the third period. The 2-1 victory over the Tide gave the Razorbacks its fourth South Eastern Collegiate Hockey Conference Playoffs championship in five years. That first goal was a controversial one. On a delayed penalty call against the Tide, which turned out to be a ten-minute misconduct, the Razorbacks inadvertently knocked the puck into their own net. The goal was controversial because a misconduct penalty, when called, results in an immediate stoppage of play rather than, as happened in the game, a delayed penalty.
Fortunately for the Hogs, the erroneous call proved inconsequential. Trailing 1-0 entering the third period, Forest Mudgett and Marty Sundstedt scored goals two minutes apart and Arkansas held off the Tide throughout the final 6:30 of regulation play. Kevin Scheer stopped all 25 Alabama shots and was later named tournament MVP for the second straight year.
Sunday’s win was Arkansas’ second consecutive SECHC championship, both at Alabama’s expense in the title game (Arkansas defeated Alabama 8-0 a year ago). The win also continued the Hogs’ SEC playoff conference winning streak. Remarkably, the Razorbacks have never lost an SEC playoff game in the four years it has competed in the tournament.
Sunday’s victory improved Arkansas’ record to 29-5-0. The Razorbacks now await the results of the rankings committee’s vote, which will be released on Friday. The Hogs have been #1 in the Pacific Region all season long and this most recent trio of wins should solidify its standing. Arkansas returns home for its final homestand of the 13-14 season when it takes on Division I University of Oklahoma. The Sooners are the #3 team in the nation at the Division I level and are the only team in the nation to have defeated Arizona State. The puck drops on Friday at 8:30 pm and on Saturday at 4:00 pm.