UK Hockey splits home-and-home series against Louisville



By Char Grimm | Hockey beat writer

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UK hockey split a pair of games this weekend in a home-and-home series with Louisville (3-3-0).

On Friday, the Cats won in Lexington 6-3 before dropping the second game 4-2 in Louisville on Saturday.

Saturday’s game marked the Cats’ first loss to the Cardinals in the history of the two clubs.

“We need to come mentally prepared for the second game,” said UK senior defenseman Jeremy Schmidt. “It seems like not everyone comes out mentally focused. It has to change.”

Friday night saw a sellout crowd at the Lexington Ice Center of more than 1,000 people.

UK (1-3-0) senior defenseman Pat Wittman scored the first goal on Friday less than three minutes into the game. A minute into a Louisville power play, Cats junior forward Andrew Baron buried his own rebound to give UK a 2-0 lead.

Forty seconds later, UK junior forward Corey Kopach scored the third goal, followed by senior Ryan Thomas, giving the Cats a 4-0 lead in the second period.

Kopach gave the Cats a 5-0 lead less than a minute into the period.

Cardinals freshman forward Derek Pierkarczyk scored the first Louisville goal with 8:57 to play.

UK junior forward and captain Charlie Hales scored the final Cats goal of the night 23 seconds later.

On Saturday night, UK traveled to Louisville for the second game of the series.

Junior forward Andrew Baron created a 1-0 Cats lead in the first two minutes of the game.

On a delayed hooking penalty to Schmidt, Louisville senior forward Hunter Shacklette put the puck past UK goaltender Tucker Boyle to tie the game at 1. While on the power play,

Louisville defenseman David Bechard netted the second goal of the period for the Cardinals.

Cardinals defenseman Teagan Pepper found the back of the net in the second, creating a 3-1 Cardinals lead that held into the third period.

The Cats had penalty troubles in the second period; at one point, four Cats were in the penalty box.

Nine minutes into the third period, Schmidt scored from the point, cutting the Louisville lead to 3-2.

A few minutes later, UK  pulled Boyle in favor of the extra skater. Louisville would seal the fate of the Cats with an empty-net goal in the final 90 seconds.