From the beginning of warmups, tensions were high between rivals Texas A&M Ice Hockey and East Texas Baptist University Saturday night at the Spirit Ice Arena in College Station.
The Aggies, currently 4-4 for the season, played an extremely physical second game in the weekend double header Oct. 15-16 against the Tigers. The Aggies lost Friday night, 7-3, but were competitive in both games against a team with a four-game winning streak with all the wins against the maroon and white this season. Penalty box time and power plays were highlights in both matches against ETBU.
Daniel Dufresne, A&M junior forward, said ETBU is known for their power-play advantages, which essentially led the Aggies to two losses.
“They are the best that we have ever played when it comes to power plays, and it’s tough,” Dufresne said. “The penalties we had are part of what to blame for our loss tonight.”
From the puck drop, ETBU took control, heightening the tension among players and fans alike. Seven minutes into the first period, ETBU scored the first goal of the night.
The Aggies immediately went into power play mode, and sophomore forward Robert Sours scored the first goal of the night for A&M at seven minutes and eight seconds on the clock with an assist from junior forward Mitchell Anderson. Both teams fought until the end of the period to put another score on the board while three players from each team spent time in the penalty box. The period ended 1-1.
The start of the second period was both intense, yet slow. ETBU’s junior forward Caleb Goudreau took a seat in the penalty box, which led the Aggies to gain a powerplay that failed to deliver.
With 58 seconds on the clock left in the second period, the Aggies pulled into the lead 3-2, going into the last period. The near-capacity home crowd in Spirit Ice Arena was rowdy, yelling approval and encouragement.
The third period racked up hits and penalties along with two major scores on the board for ETBU to win the game, 4-3.
Though the Aggies lost, Dufresne said he believes the team played well.
“This game is the best that we’ve played all season,” Dufresne said. “I am happy with the effort our team made, and they really are the best team and our biggest rival yet, in the three years I have played for this team.”
The two teams will meet again later this year in the playoffs. A&M Ice Hockey takes the ice again against Texas State at home on Sunday, Oct. 17, at 1:15 p.m.
For more information, visit https://www.tamuicehockey.com/.