UK Cool Cats froze out MTSU on opening night

Benjamine Branscum

The UK Men’s Ice Hockey team, also known as the Cool Cats, took on the Middle Tennessee State University Blue Raiders on Friday night. UK had an 8-1 victory.

The true star of the night was chemistry freshman #23 Jordan Shannon. Shannon wowed fans in the first period with a hat trick, two of those goals being shorthanded and on the penalty kill. Shannon talked about how big of a win this really was for the team.

“I think it’s really great. UK Hockey hasn’t been doing so well the past couple of years, so it’s nice to start off really strong and get a big win,” Shannon said. “I think it really sets the tone for the season.”

“The luck went my way tonight,” Shannon said about his hat trick.

The Cool Cats were on the offensive attack almost all night. During the first five minutes of the game, they pumped shots all over the MTSU goalie.

After 60 minutes of play, UK had outshot the Blue Raiders 78-27. Racking up a double hat trick with Shannon was landscape architecture senior #10 Beck Shultz. Shultz said sometimes even a win can have its good and bad sides.

“Very rough. We have a lot to learn about each other. This is the beginning and were really excited,” Shultz said. “We saw a lot of good things, and we saw a lot of bad things. That’s what we practice for.”

Shultz said the team’s theme this year is “New Era” because they have been making changes to the program.

“We’ve got a lot of people on the bench helping us,” Shultz said.

Shultz was optimistic about the team’s chances of going to the SEC Finals and being a competitor. He said he sees a lot of potential with this team that has eight freshmen.

About 600 fans gathered and left standing room only to cheer on the Cool Cats. Most stood all the way through the second period.

“That makes the game. We love to have the fans there. The fans always attend when they can,” Coach Tim Pergram said. “We like it to where it’s packed and it’s becomes something that everyone wants to come to, and we love them.”

Coach Pergram talked about the bright future of the program. He said switching to the SEC is a good change because the team plays against teams “known to the fans here in Kentucky.”

Fans who missed opening night can catch the Cool Cats’ second game against MTSU on Saturday, Sept. 16, at midnight.