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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Icing out the competition

Photo by Meredith Seaver

Texas A&M Ice Hockey will face the Texas Longhorns at Spirit Ice Arena on Saturday, Oct. 19 at 7:30 p.m.

Three weeks into its season, the Texas A&M club ice hockey team stays perfect.

Texas A&M ice hockey team came in with a 4-0 record, hosting the 2-1 Baylor Bears on Friday, Oct. 14, in Spirit Ice Arena. The Aggies outlasted the Bears’ comeback efforts for a pair of wins by scores of 4-3 and 4-2.

It has been a great start to the season for A&M. The Aggies secured their fifth and sixth straight victories in what were scrappy and physical games from the start. The undefeated Aggies have outscored their opponents 28-10 thus far. A&M has picked up right where they left off in 2021 when they won the TCHC championship. With the wins, the maroon and white now sit in first place in the league and improve to 6-0 overall after sweeping Oklahoma State, Texas and Baylor to start the 2022-23 campaign.

The Aggies started off Game 1 against Baylor when junior forward Robby Sours scored the first goal with only 17:38 remaining in the first period. Very shortly after, freshman Nate Polinsky checked a Baylor player hard into the boards, which caused both sides to go after each other. This set the tone for the game and energized the crowd.

The aggressiveness of Aggie players gave Baylor a two-man advantage, but fantastic Aggie defense kept the puck away from the goal. More pushing and shoving, including an A&M player pushing a ref, led to a 10-minute misconduct penalty.

A roughing penalty on the Aggies shortly thereafter gave the Bears the advantage, and this time they would capitalize. A Baylor slapshot goal with 1:59 remaining brought the game to 1-1.

A near brawl on the ice capped off the first period, and the teams went into their respective locker rooms.

A dramatic first period left the game tied. The maroon and white would distance themselves a bit in the second.

A&M freshman forward Jacob Smith kicked things off with a two-on-one fast-break goal. Shortly thereafter, senior forward Matthew Perri followed it up with a goal of his own. The Aggies had a power play but did not take advantage, and the second period ended with a score of 3-1.

A&M felt good, cruising into the final set with a lead of two. However, it was clear that the Bears were not backing down any time soon. Still playing tough and very physical, Baylor scored with 11:42 left on the clock.

Up 3-2, the maroon and white made a costly mistake. An A&M player pushed an opponent into the Aggie goal and held them there, warranting a roughing call. The penalty gave Baylor a two-man advantage with eight minutes remaining.

A strike of a slap shot in the top corner tied things up with a dramatic Baylor celebration to boot. Baylor had scored two unanswered and suddenly things were all tied up again. This would not last for long.

A&M struck right back with a one-on-one goal from junior forward Christian Spearman. A monumental goal that directly countered Baylor’s momentum seemed to all but seal it.

The Aggies were not done yet, though, and would have tacked on another one if not for a goal being waived off with 3:16 left to play.

A final Baylor timeout with 55 seconds, and an unsuccessful last-ditch effort to tie the game, wrapped things up in College Station for Game 1.

A&M wasted no time getting on the scoreboard in Game 2, though, as freshman forward Nicholas Leone broke free from the defense and, going one-on-one with senior goalie Matthew Cole, found the back of the net less than two minutes into the game.

The Aggies padded their lead with seven minutes remaining in the first period, as Smith managed to knock in the puck amid a scrum of players. A&M entered the first intermission up 2-0 after a defensive display by freshman goalie Peyton Woodlief.

The Aggies began to turn the matchup into a blowout when senior forward Daniel Dufresne scored to make it a 3-0 game with four minutes to go in the second period. Baylor refused to go down without a fight, literally and metaphorically, as freshman forward Joseph Vacca found the back of the net with 31 seconds remaining in the period to bring the Bears back into it.

The green and gold threatened again as junior forward Owen Eldersveld scored to bring Baylor within a goal at 3-2 with 8:32 remaining in the third and final period. As the 12th Man began to sweat despite the rink’s chilly temperatures, Leone added a huge insurance goal, his second of the match, to put the game away for A&M. The Aggies’ defense held up for the remaining time, securing the win.

A&M returns to the ice on Friday, Oct. 21, and Saturday, Oct. 22, in Shreveport, La., to take on East Texas Baptist in a series that will determine first place in the conference. The Tigers, who boast an NCAA-recognized team, sit in second place with a 5-0 record.

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