The Razorback Hockey team took on the University of Oklahoma (Division I) last weekend in both teams’ first regular season games. The games marked the first of the 13-14 season for Oklahoma. Coming off of a stellar 22-13-6 campaign last season that saw them finish sixth in the nation, the Sooners sought to pick up this season where they left off. Entering the series, Oklahoma held the 3-0 lifetime series advantage against the Razorbacks. The first meeting between the two programs took place back in the 2011-12 season when Sooners traveled to Springdale, AR, for a single game on September 16, 2011, that Oklahoma won 7-3. The teams met again during the 12-13 season when Oklahoma defeated the Razorbacks by a pair of 10-2 scores.
For their part, the Razorbacks entered the 13-14 season following a 27-9-1 (7-1-0 SECHC) effort in 12-13 that produced a regular season conference title (the program’s fourth) and a playoff conference title (the program’s third). Lost to graduation are Garth Derry (2009-13), Trent Ritchie (2009-13), and Robert Scott (2009-13), but the Hogs reloaded with the additions of Michael Tallo, James Haddock, Jacob Brown, John Duranczyk, Stone Mudgett, Travis Robbins, Luke Seibold, Kyle Summerford, and Brandon Van Rooyen.
Despite the Hogs’ roster additions, Arkansas fell behind early against Oklahoma both games. On Friday, the Sooners jumped out to a 3-0 lead by the end of the first period and never looked back. Oklahoma cruised to a 8-0 win behind 47 shots. Arkansas managed just 12 in response. Saturday’s contest was a different story. Although the team quickly fell behind–giving up a pair of goals inside the first two minutes of play–the Razorbacks played the Sooners even for most of the remainder of the game and even outshot Oklahoma during the second period of Saturday’s contest. That same period, the Hogs nearly capitalized on a 5-on-3 power play opportunity, but stellar play by Sooners goaltender, senior Nick Holmes, kept the Razorbacks out of the net. The Sooners went on to add a third tally in the final stanza en route to a 3-0 final.
This weekend, Arkansas completes its four-game road swing by traveling to Peoria, Illinois, to take on Robert Morris-Peoria. The two teams have never met. The pair of games against the Eagles marks the Razorbacks’ opening games against a Division III opponent and marks the program’s first contests in the Pacific Region. For its part, the Eagles begin their season against the Razorbacks having completed a standout 12-13 season that saw them sitting at or near the top of the Pacific rankings throughout the totality of last season. The Eagles are led in scoring by returning defenseman Sam Milligan who, in just 20 games last season, registered 29 goals and 25 assists. Milligan was selected to the DIII All-American First Team last season. Milligan was also selected to represent RMU on the ACHA All-Star team that traveled to Europe last winter.
The Hogs return home on October 4/5 and play host to another Pacific Region rival–Robert Morris-Springfield. October 4th’s contest is the fourth annual “Pink the Rink.” The puck drops at 7:30 pm on both nights.