The University of Arkansas Ice Hogs pulled off an historic accomplishment by sweeping Division I opponent Midland University!
The Ice Hogs came into the weekend series having won four in a row.However, the Ice Hogs found themselves stepping up in class, and work cut out for them from the opening drop of the puck Friday night.
Midland University, located in Fremont, Nebraska exhibited skill, speed and a tight checking style that bottled up the Hogs for long stretches of the game. In turn, Midland possessed a formidable transition game of their own and continually forced the action. The Warriors were rewarded at the 11:35 mark of the 1st period when Alex Cooper found the back of the net. The first period ended with the Hogs trailing for the first time since October 11th.
Physical play picked up in the 2nd period with several penalties being called by referee Chip Excell. The Ice Hogs finally broke through midway through the period when Matt Robinson buried a wrist shot past Midland goal tender Matt Goedeke. Michael Tallo, and Erik Robinson picked up assists and it was 1-1. Checking remained tight, and open ice was scarce. At the 5:16 mark, Mason Brower gave the Hogs the lead with assists going to Ryan Machos, and James Haddock. The 2nd ended with the Hogs holding a tenuous 2-1 lead.
The 3rd period started with play opening up as Midland looked to even the score. But, Hogs goalie Kevin Scheer made several good saves to keep the Hogs in the lead. Three minutes into the 3rd period, Connor Crumblish gave the Hogs some breathing room at 3-1 when he snapped a shot after driving the right wing with a defender on his back. Play continued to be physical and the Hogs were holding on by a thread as Midland continually drove to the net. After the Warriors pulled their goalie, Michael Tallo settled the issue with 40 seconds left as he chased down a loose puck in the Midland zone and battled three defenders to score in the empty net.
The Ice Hogs pulled off the weekend sweep over the Midland Warriors on Saturday by a 7-2 score. The Razorbacks were led by James Haddock with a goal and 2 assists, and captain Forest Mudgett contributing 3 assists.
The game began ominously for the Ice Hogs as defensive breakdowns led to a quick 2-0 lead for the Warriors. Another disallowed goal on a late offside call almost cost the Hogs. Spencer Mulgrew deserved a better fate, but was pulled in favor of Kevin Scheer. The Hogs dug in and responded.
With 2 minutes left in the first period, Marcel Toure banged home a Ryan Machos rebound to close at 2-1 at the end of the 1st.
Tight checking and big hits followed the 1st period and the Hogs struggled to get anything going against a fast and skilled Midland club. Mason Brower tied the game at the 13:29 mark with a goal that caught the short side and the Hogs were back in business.
With an assist from Forest Mudgett 29 seconds later, Erik Robinson gave the Hogs the lead for good and the period ended with the Hogs up 3-2.
Less than 5 minutes into the 3rd period, John Duranczyk gave the Hogs some breathing room and a 2 goal lead with assists going to James Haddock and Ryan Machos. Play continued to be tight and turned chippy with referee Tanner Rogers calling several penalties in succession. James Haddock scored an unassisted power play goal and the Hogs followed up 17 seconds later when Michael Tallo connected on a feed from Brower. Connor Crumblish closed out the scoring with less than 4 minutes left in the game with a rising shot from the point.
The Razorbacks were tested by a skilled club, and responded to some adversity by making big plays. A big positive sign for the Hogs is 12 different players recorded points this weekend. The Hogs will need contributions from all areas as the competition gets gets ramped up even more with a conference showdown with Alabama on the schedule November 7th and 8th in Pelham, Alabama.
The Hog are off next weekend, but resume action at home on November 14th and 15th when they take on Missouri State at the Jones Center.