UK hockey sweeps Louisville to finish season



By Char Grimm | @KernelGrimm

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The UK hockey team (11-23-0) closed out their season with a pair of wins over rival Louisville (12-21-0) this weekend. “It felt great. We needed that,” senior forward Sean McLaughlin said of ending the season on two wins.

Friday’s game, held in Lexington, saw a standing room only crowd of over a thousand people. Rink staff were forced to turn people away at the door due to fire safety codes.

“We will remember that crowd forever. That atmosphere was insane,” senior forward Dylan Rohar said.

The Cats didn’t disappoint the crowd and would exit the first period ahead 2-1 due to goals from Rohar and junior forward Jake Boss. Shortly into the second period, junior forward Matt McLaughlin deflected freshman defenseman Alex Townsend’s shot into the goal to create a 3-1 lead for the Cats over the Cardinals. A rocket slap shot from junior defenseman Jeremy Schmidt would extend the UK lead to three goals, but the Cards weren’t giving up easily.

Freshman forward Ryan MacDonald would put the puck behind senior goaltender Sal Olivet seconds after Schmidt stepped onto the ice from the penalty box. Junior forward Matt Hudzinski would add to the Cats lead late in the third period. Shortly after his goal, several Louisville players took offense and a fisticuff broke out between several Cats and Cards. The game would end with two players from each side in the penalty box.

“The last games for our seniors, we all want to put a show on for them, get the W,” Boss said. And put a show on the Cats would. The Cardinals would be the home team Saturday evening as the Cats made the trip to Louisville for the second contest between the two teams. Iceland also saw a standing room only crowd. 45 seconds into the first period, Sean McLaughlin would put the puck behind junior goaltender Kyle Burdorf to create a 1-0 Cats lead. They would never let off the gas in their final game of the season.

On a hooking call to the Cardinals, Matt McLauglin would put the puck behind Burdorf. Freshman defenseman Dylan Higgins was quick to remind the crowd that the McLaughlin brothers weren’t the only Cats with a scoring touch when he netted his own goal thirty seconds later. A minute later, Rohar would add his first goal of the evening and Louisville would call a timeout. The Cats exited the first period ahead of the Cardinals 4-0.

Shortly into the second, Higgins would find himself disqualified from the game due to a fisticuff with a Louisville player. Rohar would net his second goal of the evening five minute into the period. A slewfoot call on sophomore forward Nick Frederick caused the Cardinal to be ejected from the game as well as a five minute major was assessed to the team. Junior forward Ryan Thomas would ensure that Louisville would pay for the penalty as he netted the sixth goal for the Cats on the power play.

With just over two minutes left on the major penalty to Frederick, Sean McLaughlin would net his second goal of the night. Sophomore forward Andrew Baron would be the third Cat to net a goal on the Frederick penalty thirty seconds later to extend the Cats lead to 8-0. Shortly after the Frederick penalty ended, freshman forward Patrick McGlade would find himself ejected for fighting one of the Cardinals.

Five minutes into the third period, Olivet would lose the shutout when the Cards snuck one past him. Late into the third, sophomore defenseman Jacob Cohen took on three Louisville players in a fight that earned him an ejection from the game. On the two man advantage power play, Sean McLaughlin would find the back of the net a third time to earn him a hat trick on his final night in a UK sweater.

Not to be outdone, with thirty seconds left in the game, Rohar also scored his third goal to earn himself a hat trick on his final game as well.

“It felt amazing,” Sean McLaughlin said of scoring a hat trick on his third period.

The Cats are already looking forward to next season. “We have some new recruits coming, going to train in the offseason, and keep it going,” Boss said.