April 16, 2024

A Battle Line Rivalry Heats The Ice

A Battle Line Rivalry Heats The Ice

In the world of sports, we have rivalries that we all know and love. In some cases, these rivalries spill over to sports that some may forget about. It is time for the ‘Battle Line Rivalry’ played on Ice!

The #7 Missouri Tigers Hockey Club {13-6-1} make the 307-mile trek, to Springdale, Arkansas, and the Jones Center to take on the #12 Arkansas Hockey Club {14-2-1} for a weekend series that will be watched by college hockey fans nationwide. On the season the Tigers lead 2-0 after winning their only meeting, on November 3-4. In these matchups, the Tigers won, 5-4, and 6-3, in the weekend series from Columbia. As described, this series begins the second semester of play for the Razorbacks. We will analyze the standings, who is Missouri, and how they pose a threat. In addition, we will give our three keys to tie the season series for the Razorbacks. Let’s start with the standings and how this weekend’s standings can change the D3 hockey world.

Where Do These Teams Rank?

Both programs compete in the MACHA South Division. In this division this season the season is just getting started. Missouri currently sits atop these with an unblemished 3-0 record. Rutting up the ice and on their heels are the 3-1 Razorbacks. As seasons past have indicated, this division will be hard-hitting, high-scoring, and intense hockey for three, sometimes plus, periods. The top-ranked series has the potential to change not just the division standings but the national as well. This will be a series you do not want to miss.

Who Are The Missouri Tigers?

The Tigers come in as one of the hottest teams in D3 hockey. This season they have scored 97 goals while only allowing 41. This, in addition to a physical style of play, will pose a threat to Arkansas as they look to get some payback in front of their home fans. Let’s learn who the Missouri Tigers Hockey Club is.

Scorers Everywhere and Talent In Goal

We mentioned the goals this program has scored and now we will look at who has been scoring the puck. This team is led by many talented players but three stand out in the stats. Forward, Nick Spolek, #64, ranks #2 im the MACHA Silver South in points, with 37, so far this season. Spolek has scored 8 goals along with 27 assists in 14 games played.

To join Spolek is fellow forward, Andrew Knapp, #14, who has been scoring at will this season as he ranks #7 in the above rankings with 27 points. Knapp has scored 15 goals along with 12 assists in 14 games played. Knapp has shown an instinct to score in crucial times for the Tigers as he has 2 game winners this season.

Defenseman Charlie Walker, #44, comes in ranked #13 in the rankings with 28 points. Walker has 12 goals along with 9 goals in 14 games played. . Like Knapp, Walker has scored 2 game winners this season and has shown an ability to close out close games. Walker is also on a five-game goal-scoring streak.

In goal for the Tigers have Tanner Richardson, #30, and Jack Dobbs, #50, and they have performed well. Richardson comes into this weekend with a 7-0-1 record and only allowing 21 goals this season. In addition, he has an average per game of just over 2 goals at 2.62 per game. This great average has contributed to his 2 shutouts this season.

Dobbs comes in 5-1 on the season while allowing 22 goals. Dobbs has an average of 3.67 goals per game. While none of the three have been involved in any shootouts they have all shown the ability to stop a high number of shots while keeping these out of the back of the net. No matter what Tiger is in the net, they will be a challenge for the Razorbacks offense.

On the season, the Tigers have shown a tenacity defensively in their games. To further this point, since the above-mentioned series with Arkansas, the Tiers have outscored their opponents, 37-14. With this, it will take a special weekend for the Razorbacks to make a statement nationally at home.

What will it take to tie the season series? We give out three keys to tying this series.

Photo Credits – Rhett Hutchins – Baumology Photography

Three Keys To Tie The Series This Season

Fast Start and Loud Crowd

Thus far this season, the Razorbacks have found themselves, at times, starting slow. With this, they have found themselves behind in the score column. With a team such as Missouri, this cannot happen this weekend. The Razorbacks will be looking for JD Deunwald to continue his season of scoring. JD has 12 goals this season and leads the team in goals scored. Along with Duenwald is Trevor Borlace who has team team-leading 11 assists along with his 7 goals this season. These two, along with others, will be key number one to a fast start for the Razorbacks.

Photo Credits – Rhett Hutchins – Baumology – Baumlogy Photography

We mentioned the home fans and what fans they are. Of all the arenas in the division, the Razorbacks have a true home-ice advantage. The Jomes Center is packed on Friday night and Saturday afternoon with wild Razorbacks fans! Decked out in their jerseys with their blankets{yes, it’s cold!} as they line up to get the best seats available. Others choose to line the ice as they stand, cheer, and, at times, bang on the glass as the home Razorbacks skate by at impressive speeds. These fans create an atmosphere that the club, its coaches, and players all feed off of when playing at home. Looking at the remainder of the home schedule, this advantage will need to be in full force every weekend the Razorbacks are home.

Keep Shooting

Arkansas has shown the ability to score over the season. Furthermore, coming into the weekend, the Razorbacks have scored 87 goals in total. If they can achieve thai against Missouri the chance of winning increases. Shots will need to increase for this t ow ork. With shooters such as Kyle Crews, who has 10 goals and 7 assists, and Connor Chapman, who has 10 goals and 8 assists, this will be a crucial key to tying this series. If players such as Kyle Patterson can continue his hot start on the ice based on his 6 goals and 5 assists these could be a key that ends up in the Razorback’s favor.

Rely On The Pipes

As many goals as the Razorbacks have allowed 58 to make it past the goalies. In the grand scheme this i a great number for a program. The competition has increased in 2023 fo this program and with this, the games have become more competitive. We haven’t seen as many blowout wins from Arkansas as we did in seasons past. With this, the goalie position is still a strong suit for the Razorbacks. With players such as Sam Haynes, Grady Reis, and Noah Goodman Arkansas is one of the top in D3. The above-mentioned shooters will be a challenge this group greatly accepts. This weekend will be a Battle for sure. One of the main places is in goal and will be what we think is the largest key to the win. Play well in goal and you tie this series.

As Arkansas and Missouri prepare to battle on ice this will be a weekend to watch. These bitter rivals will be physical for many reasons. From their deep rivalry to the tight standings, and more the line has been drawn. What will take place in this season, possibly, the last meeting? Who knows? It’s time to find out!

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