Cool Cats swept by Indiana in opening weekend


Junior Gray McLaughlin brings the puck up the rink during the UK club hockey game against the Indiana on September 21, 2013 at the Lexington Ice Center in Lexington, Ky.

By Char Grimm

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UK hockey (0-2-0) dropped both games in its season-opening series to Division I Indiana University (2-0-0) on Friday and Saturday.

Friday saw the Cats fall 3-2 at home, before being defeated 7-2 in Columbus, Ind., on Saturday.

UK junior forward Corey Kopach said nerves were running high prior to Friday’s game, which was his first in a UK jersey.

“It was nerve-wracking walking out there,” he said. “I almost ate it walking out when they called my name, but I got a couple hits in and got my feet under me.”

The Cats played through the nerves and left the first period in a 0-0 tie with the Hoosiers.

Five minutes into the second, UK senior forward Ryan Thomas would find the back of the net on a power play to create a 1-0 Cats lead, only to see that lead erased within thirty seconds by Hoosiers forward Alex Block.

Late in the second, Indiana forward Joey Siers would score a goal of his own to give the Hoosiers a 2-1 lead to exit the second.

Near the beginning of the third period, Indiana scored what would be the game-winner, despite a late rally by UK that saw junior forward Cam Mohler score his first UK goal, leaving the final score at 3-2.

“I’ve been wanting that goal for a while. It was surreal. I didn’t know what to do,” said Mohler, who started playing for UK last spring.

UK senior goalkeeper Aaron Tenfelde was impressed with Mohler’s goal.

“The thing is, though, he called it,” he said. “Before we left for the third, he told us, ‘Don’t worry, guys. I got the next one.’ ”

Tenfelde said the Cats should have scored more, but were unable to capitalize on rebounds until later in the game.

Despite the 3-2 loss, UK had a positive outlook on the game.

“We have 27 hardworking, blue-collar guys who are going to go out there and give 100 percent every shift,” Tenfelde said. He added that the Cats’ strategy this season was to move the puck deep and use their bodies, something the team had problems with last season.

A slow start by UK on Saturday resulted in two quick goals by Indiana defenseman Jack Mannion.

“We expected them to be sitting back and that we could ride the momentum from last night,” said UK captain Charlie Hales.

Mohler would score his second goal of the series with just under seven minutes played in the first period. Indiana answered with goals from defensemen Jason Manley and Andrew Kaplan to exit the first up 4-1.

Indiana forward Brad Groves scored to give the Hoosiers a four-goal lead with 11:28 to go in the second period. A late power play goal would put Indiana up by five to exit the second period.

The Cats replaced Tenfelde to start the third with freshman goaltender Tucker Boyle.

UK junior defenseman Gray McLaughlin said he was pleased with Boyle’s first period in goal for the Cats.

After a double minor penalty to Indiana following physical play near the UK goal, Hales would find his way to the back of the net, giving the Cats their second and final tally of the night.

Indiana netted their seventh goal of the game with about four minutes to play to complete the sweep of the Cats with a 7-2 victory.

“It’s easy to forget we’re a young team. We got better as the game went on and we won that third period,” Hales said.

The Cats outshot the Hoosiers in the third period, despite being outshot 41-16 over the course of the entire game.

“Despite two losses, we were pleased with some of the things we saw this weekend and know what we need to work on,” McLaughlin said.

UK will be back in action Friday at home against the University of Louisville at 11:55 p.m. before traveling to Louisville to face the Cardinals at 8 p.m. on Saturday.