Kentucky hockey out-scored 12-9; swept by Louisville

Cole Parke

Kentucky hockey was out-scored 12-9 in back-to-back losses against the Louisville Cardinals on Jan. 22.

The two-game series took place entirely on Saturday, with the first contest in Lexington beginning at midnight, and the following game starting in the evening from Louisville.

Momentum favored the Cats early in the first game, with former Kentucky football linebacker and hockey fanatic Kash Daniel doing the ceremonious first puck drop after flashing the “L’s Down” to a packed Lexington Ice Center.

Not long after, just four minutes into the first period, UK freshman wing Dan Quartapella scored the first goal of the night. He was assisted by sophomore center Drew Carlson.

Though Louisville would tie the game up nearly 10 minutes later, a pair of back-to-back goals in the span of 15 seconds saw Kentucky take a 3-1 lead. The goals were scored by senior defenseman Eric Molitor, off an assist by Quartapella, and sophomore center Brett Quinn, off assists from senior captain Gary Eastlack and sophomore wing Gabe D’Amico.

Louisville would score once more before the end of the period, with Kentucky leading 3-2 after 20 minutes.

Things took a turn for the Wildcats in the second period, with Louisville out-scoring Kentucky 2-0 to take a 4-3 lead into the last period. Visiting Louisville fans celebrated accordingly, even knocking a panel of glass from the board onto the ice at one point, leading to a short delay. 

The Wildcats attempted to retake momentum in the third period of game one with a quick power-play goal by junior assistant captain Tim Burke off assists by Eastlack and D’Amico to tie the game at four, but three straight Louisville goals would see the Cardinals take a 7-4 lead late.

D’Amico would score one final time for Kentucky off an assist by Burke with three minutes to play, officially resulting in the 7-5 loss for Kentucky in Lexington.

Kentucky coach Tim Pergram held his composure, but was visibly frustrated with the result heading into the locker room.

Traveling up to Louisville for the second game of the series, Kentucky hoped its favor would be different.

However, it would be Louisville who would find the net first as the Cardinals took a 2-0 lead early in the second game.

Kentucky was undeterred, with freshman defenseman Toby Cooper scoring his first goal of his Kentucky career, just before freshman center Clayton Headlee did the same, with the young duo tying the game at 2-2.

The Cats took the lead after Eastlack scored his first goal of the series and Cooper scored another to put Kentucky up 4-2.

Unfortunately for Kentucky, after the Cardinals scored once more to make it 4-3, Molitor would be sent to the penalty box, sparking a Louisville power-play. The Cardinals would take advantage, tying the game at 4-4 with a power-play goal to send the game to overtime.

Though the Cats fought to even the series, Louisville’s Dalton Karl would score the overtime goal, giving the Cards a 5-4 overtime victory and a series sweep of Kentucky.

Kentucky has just six games left on its schedule before the TSCHL playoffs in mid-February. The team will next take the ice on Jan. 28 in a two-game road trip against the Ohio Bobcats. It will then return home for the first of a home-and-home series against Miami Ohio in early February, before finishing its regular season with a home stint against Michigan on Feb. 11 and 12. Like all Kentucky home games, the puck drops at midnight inside the Lexington Ice Center.