The Indiana hockey club faced the University of Kentucky in a two-game series over the weekend, losing the opener before leaving Lexington, Kentucky with a win of its own.
The Hoosiers kept the score line close and competitive Friday night but couldn’t beat the Wildcats through 60 minutes as they lost 5-3. The club had a more successful night on Saturday, never trailing and beating the Wildcats 5-2.
Friday got off to a positive start as Indiana freshman defenseman Matthew McKay scored the first goal of the game just over seven minutes into the first period. Kentucky bounced back with a pair of goals from senior right-wing Gabriel D’Amico to end the opening frame 2-1 in favor of the Wildcats.
There were a couple of quick goals to open the second period, as Wildcat senior forward Gary Eastlack extended Kentucky’s lead to two goals but Hoosier sophomore center Will Gerami soon put his club back within a one-goal deficit. Freshman defenseman Michael Suppan widened the gap to two goals for the Wildcats once again just before the second period ended.
D’Amico’s hat trick came midway through the third period and the Wildcats were able to close out the first game 5-3 after sophomore right-wing Tommy MacDonald scored in the final moments.
Indiana junior goalie Sammy Bilis suffered his first loss of the season Friday, giving him a 5-1-0 record on the year.
“The amount of potential goals we could’ve allowed on Friday could’ve been much worse had it not been for Bilis,” Indiana head coach Andrew Weiss said.
Saturday was a more productive day for the Hoosiers as they were able to beat the Wildcats in the second and final game of the series.
Freshman center Nick Castracane drew first blood for the Hoosiers once again, scoring just over five minutes into the first period. Eastlack scored his second of the weekend for the Wildcats to tie the score halfway through the opening frame.
Hoosier sophomore left-wing Ithan DeLorenzo and sophomore forward Drew Michelli both scored halfway through the second period, within a minute of each other. Eastlack scored his second of the game in the same span, but the Hoosiers quickly jumped back on top as freshman defenseman Henry Whittlef scored one to put them up 4-2 to end the second period.
Indiana’s power play finally broke through just over halfway into the third when freshman left-wing Jack Gustafson scored the last goal of the game to close out the period and game 5-2.
“Day two, we played much more of our game – we were a lot better in the defensive zone," Weiss said. “Playing more aggressive helped swing the tide a little bit as well.”
Indiana moves to 8-5 on the season with the weekend split. The club will be back in action on Friday and Saturday in a home/road split series against the University of Louisville.
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