Cool Cats suffer first loss of the season

After starting the season 3-0, the UK hockey team suffered a setback Saturday night, falling to Lindenwood University 8-5 at the Lexington Ice Center.

The Cool Cats battled throughout the night but never seemed to be able to overtake the Lions. Still, head coach Rob Docherty thought UK played well.

“We played some good hockey,” Docherty said. “They came to play also. We took dumb penalties in the second period that cost us.”

Lindenwood came out attacking — the Lions scored within the first four minutes of the first period and added another goal a minute later to lead 2-0 early. But UK senior defenseman and assistant captain Patrick McAdams got the Cats on the scoreboard with a goal seven minutes into the first period.

Two Lindenwood penalties gave UK a 5-3 advantage on players, and sophomore defenseman Peter Jackson saw an opportunity, scoring to tie the game at 2-2. But UK’s defense lapsed again, and Lindenwood scored with two minutes left in the first period to lead 3-2.

“There were a few times our defensive zone broke down,” Jackson said. “But we played well overall.”

Lindenwood started the second period just as quickly as the first, scoring again within two minutes. But the Cats controlled another 5-3 advantage over the Lions, and Jackson rang in another power play goal to pull UK within one at 4-3. But a UK penalty midway through the second period put the Cats at a disadvantage, and Lindenwood scored its own power-play goal to lead 5-3.

“We capitalized on our power plays,” Jackson said. “They just capitalized more on theirs.”

But it was the UK penalty that put the Cats in a bigger deficit and turned the tide against them.

“We had momentum, and it cost us,” Docherty said.

In the third period, UK tried to make a comeback and pulled within one goal when senior forward and captain Mike Barnes pushed in a goal with his skate. But just a few minutes later, Lindenwood answered with a goal to go up 6-4.

Lindenwood took advantage of more UK penalties late in the third period to add two more goals. UK got on the board once more with less than a minute to go in the third period to pull within three, but the outcome was already decided.

The game was aggressive, with both teams spending a lot of time in the penalty box. Lindenwood totaled 20 minutes, an entire period’s worth of penalties. UK only had six minutes in penalties, but the Cats’ penalties were costly, Barnes said.

“We played well and had a defensive game plan that would allow us to score goals,” he said. “But penalties were a problem, so we weren’t able to play the way we wanted to.”

In order to get ready for its next opponent, rival Indiana, Barnes said UK has to improve its mentality.

“We have the physical abilities,” he said. “We have to be smart hockey players. It’s more mental than physical.”

For Docherty, the goal for next game is more focus from his team.

“We need to try and get close to playing 60 minutes of hockey,” Docherty said. “We can’t let down whether we are winning or losing the hockey game.”