The University of Alabama Hockey season has started. After a couple of weekends designed to forge an identity and stretch the team to its limits, it is currently sitting with a 3-2 record. Bama also played 2 exhibition matches with NCAA Division 1 UA-Huntsville.
The Tide started the season with a visit to rival Kennesaw State, where they lost 8 to 1. Coach Quenneville stated, “there were a lot of freshman mistakes in that game.” Kennesaw took advantage of 11 Bama freshman whom were playing in their first game. KSU’s Justin Day scored a goal which was picked up by ESPN and played during Sportscenter’s Top 10 Plays of the Day. Sophomore Kenny Jannsen had the lone Bama Goal.
The following weekend the Tide travelled to Huntsville to face Georgia Tech on Friday night, and play their exhibition matches with UA-Huntsville. The Tide easily dispatched of Georgia Tech 6-1, with goals from Kenny Jannsen, Andre Morard, Fritz Pickard, Zach Dailey and Mark Wysock. Sean Vinson got his first win of the young season. The following nights, the Tide played UA-H. UA-H controlled the games and got over 110 cumulative shots on goaltenders Vinson and Max Hirbe. Mark Wysock got the first ever goal against NCAA Division 1 competition in the 12-1 loss, and the following night UA-H prevailed 10-0.
Coach Q chatted with Brenttnie Williams about the start of the season.
October 19, the Tide had another team first. They travelled to Lexington for the vaunted midnight madness game with the South’s oldest and most established hockey team, the University of Kentucky. The Tide experienced some penalty trouble in the second period allowing the Cats 4 goals in the second. Starting the third period down 6-3, the Tide rallied to get 2 goals but was unable to tie it up, resulting in a 6-5 loss to the ACHA Division 2 Wildcats. Coach Q really liked the effort, but said “we need to play more disciplined. Penalties in the 2nd period cost us the game.” Less than 12 hours later, the Tide took the ice in Knoxville, Tennessee against the Volunteers. Even with limited rest, the Vols never had a chance. The Tide won 12-2, and Adam Weinrich was able to get his first win in goal for the Tide.
To finish up the road trip, the Tide travelled to Nashville to take on a much improved Vanderbilt team. Vandy under the leadership of Head Coach Bernstein and former Alabama captain Jonathan Holston have begun to make a name for them, splitting series against Florida and Mississippi earlier in the season. The Tide responded after giving up the first goal with a goal from Russell Larsen. Vandy was able to take the lead again right at the end of the first, but it would not last. Kenny Jannsen added two goals in the second and Mark Wysock scored in the third to provide Bama with a lasting lead. Sean Vinson secured the 4-3 win in goal.