OU Hockey fell to the UCO Bronchos in their final home game of the season and on their senior night. The seventh ranked Bronchos played an extremely physical style and seemingly turned every single OU mistake into a goal.
UCO had not played a game in three weeks, and the rust on them was apparent early on in this contest. In the first 15 minutes, the Sooners dictated the pace of play and were by far the better team. Then the last five minutes of the period happened.
An OU defensive zone turnover led to an UCO goal scored by Austin Simpson. A minute later, Leeam Tivers would score off a rebound to give UCO a quick 2-0 lead. The Sooners controlled the majority of the first period, and yet they would head into the dressing room down 2-0.
After the first, OU held their ceremony to honor the senior who will be graduating at the end of this semester. Hunter Lane was the only Sooner on the active roster who will be graduating this semester and he was given a nice round of applause from his teammates and the fans at the Blazers Ice Centre.
“It went by fast,” said Lane regarding his college hockey career. “I think I’m about ready to move on. I loved my time here and I am looking forward to seeing what the future holds.”
Lane would end up scoring the only goal of the night for OU on a nice shot while the Sooners were on the power play.
For a moment it seemed as if the Sooners had gotten the momentum shift they needed, but it wouldn’t take long for UCO to get back a comfortable lead.
Goaltender Gage Redman played a very solid game, but UCO would score twice in the second period to go up 4-1.
The third period is when bedlam began.
Chip Excell, to his credit, officiated a solid game. When teams hate each other as much as OU and UCO do, it is important to just “let the boys play.” Excell did just that. There were three penalties total called in the first two periods.
Then the third period happened. Halfway into the third, a massive brawl ensued in front of the OU net. Everyone grabbed a dance partner, and several punches were thrown. All four officials got involved to break up the fights. After the fight and a lengthy delay, Declan Martin and Bailey Prouty were both ejected for fighting while Cale Coor was given a 10-minute misconduct. The Sooners lost three important players in the span of five minutes. Meanwhile, Leeam Tivers of UCO was also ejected for fighting. Martin and Prouty will both receive a one game suspension and miss the final game of the season on Saturday night.
The Sooners play UCO once more for their final game of this season. These back-to-back games leave little time for adjustments to be made by Coach Austin Miller.
Simply put, Miller wants his team to be very physical in their final game. UCO will be going to Nationals and OU will not. Leaving UCO with a few bumps and bruises before Nationals would be a solid way to end what has been an exceedingly difficult season.
The puck will drop Saturday night at 7:30 P.M at the Arctic Edge Ice Arena.