For the first time in their 2021-22 campaign, the Oklahoma hockey team has a winning record. An up-and-down week against rival Central Oklahoma and first-time opponent Waldorf saw the Sooners stumble in Edmond, only to find their legs in dominating fashion the nights after.
Mirroring the season opener against Arkansas, Oklahoma again found themselves unable to sustain pressure Thursday night at UCO. The Bronchos were able to capitalize on sloppy mistakes and penalties to the tune of a 5-2 rout.
"We weren't ready to compete [again]," said Sooners head coach Austin Miller. "Bad mistakes against good teams cost you."
Coming out of Thursday's disappointing affair, the Sooners quickly had to change gears for two more games in as many nights against the Waldorf Warriors. Miller said the team needed to find the attention to detail they had in their second game against Arkansas. The tenacity and drive on display in Edmond was nowhere near where it needed to be, he said.
Friday evening, with a new energy under them, Oklahoma roared out to a 3-1 lead after 40 minutes. Early in the third, a five-minute major penalty gave the Warriors a chance to bring the game back within reach. With under 30 seconds left on the power play, Waldorf’s Tyler Nelson scored his first of the year to quiet what had been an energetic Blazers Ice Centre crowd. However, the Sooners answered quickly with a goal from Brenden Sinclair and buckled down the rest of the game, with Hunter Lane's empty-netter sealing a 5-2 win.
Saturday’s game started out heading the same direction. The Sooners jumped out to an early lead thanks to their high-flying power play, which scored twice in each game against Waldorf. Heading into the final period of the weekend, OU seemed to be cruising to victory with a 5-1 lead. The Warriors scored two quick goals early in the period to make things interesting, but the Oklahoma defense regrouped and kept Waldorf off the scoreboard for the final 16 minutes to lock up a 5-3 victory.
Now 3-2-0, the Sooners have this week off before traveling to Colorado State to open WCHL play October 15-16. With conference play sneaking up quickly, coach Miller said the team needs to stay focused on improving day to day and take their season one game at a time.