By Char Grimm | @KernelGrimm
UK hockey (9-16-1) takes on No. 4 Lindenwood (13-5-1) in a pair of late-night contests Friday and Saturday.
Lindenwood competes in the central division of the ACHA while the Cats compete in the southeast division.
“Central division is thought of as just as good, or even harder, than the Southeast,” said Cats senior forward Dylan Rohar.
UK enters the games on the back of two losses to No. 2 Penn State this past weekend, which was preceded by two defeats at the hands of Toledo.
Friday’s game will be Lindenwood’s second weekend outing of the spring semester after back-to-back wins over Robert Morris University Illinois on Jan. 11 and 12.
Senior forward Sean McLaughlin says the Cats will need to implement their game plan well against the Lions.
“We need to play passive aggressive,” he said. “Get them to break out before we attack.”
Junior defenseman Jeremy Schmidt said the Cats will need to do the basic things right if they are to walk out of the Lexington Ice Center with wins on Friday and Saturday.
“Simple plays, easy plays,” Schmidt said. “Hard work, get the puck in deep.”
UK junior goaltender Aaron Tenfelde added that the Cats will have the wind in their sails after almost taking Penn State to overtime one night after being on the receiving end of an 8-0 scoreline.
In Saturday’s 5-4 loss the Cats played their most physical game of the season thus far. Even Rohar, who is usually known as more of a finesse-type player, came out hitting.
“It’s ‘cause his fiancée was in the stands,” senior defenseman Brandon Tigrett said of Rohar’s new physical style of play.
The hitting seemed to pay off, bringing the Cats close to an upset victory. In addition to continuing that physical play against Lindenwood, UK knows it will need to make some adjustments on defense in order to take down the Lions.
“We had a couple turnovers in the defensive zone, which resulted in three goals. They also tripled our shots,” Tenfelde said. Lindenwood is led by graduate forward Dettrick Pierzinski and his team-high 15 goals and 15 assists.
Pierzinski also leads the team in penalty minutes with 70. When Tigrett was asked how the Cats were going to shut him down, the answer was simple. “Talk to him. We put him in the box,” he said.
Face-off is set for midnight for both Friday and Saturday at the Lexington Ice Center. Admission is $7 at the door.