After a long break since their win against Georgia, Auburn hockey will face off against arch rival Alabama this weekend in the annual Iron Cup series at the Pelham Civic Complex. The Tigers have added key players since last semester that should help with depth on the bench. A couple of key additions are goaltenders Matt Gray and Mitch Kestner. Both goalies had to tend to academic responsibilities last semester, keeping them off of the ice. Gray is returning for his second season. He is a proven goalie at this level and stood out in big games last season, including games against Alabama. This is Mitch Kestner’s first season between the pipes for Auburn. Kestner comes from a hockey family in Huntsville. Mitch’s older brother Seph was previously a captain for the Tigers, and his brother Josh is currently playing at the University of Alabama Huntsville. “We’re looking forward to big things from both goalies this season and beyond”, says Assistant Coach Mike Robinson.
Alabama come into this weekend ranked #2 in the ACHA DIII South Region. Though Auburn’s season started a little rough they have turned things around and are riding a 5 game winning streak.
This weekend’s events will get started at 8pm in Pelham. Saturday’s game will start at 7pm with a pre game ceremony including the national anthem being preformed by Jess Meuse from American Idol. Sunday’s puck drop is at 2pm.
If you can’t make it to Pelham, be sure to watch or listen online:
There was a new goalie in net this weekend for the Tigers. Mike Robinson, the team’s adviser and assistant coach agreed to play in net for the Tigers. The new goaltender was able to stop approximately 85% of the shots, but the Tigers were unable to match the scoring.
Friday against Georgia the Tigers played tough, however a few penalties got them in trouble in the second period and UGA capitalized on their power plays. Tigers would eventually fall 6-1. Michael Ritter tallied the Tiger’s lone goal. Saturday’s game against Georgia Tech started with great promise. After 1 period the Tigers trailed 1-0. Auburn was short benched and it showed starting in the second period. Georgia Tech took over after that. Tech would eventually fire 73 shots on net. Final score, 11-1 Tech. Assistant captain, Chris Hickley, would get Auburn’s only goal assisted by captain Carter Rivers. Sunday versus Tennessee saw much of the same as Saturday’s game. Already short benched and fatigued from the previous games, Auburn found themselves struggling after a questionable game misconduct was given to Freshmen Braden Pichel. Auburn found themselves having to kill 2 five minute major penalties in the second period. The loss of Pichel and 10+ minutes of penalty kill in the second period proved to be to much for the Tigers. Tennessee would go on to win 14-2.
Though the scores were lopsided, there were a lot of positives to come out of the weekend. The players started to show a lot of grit over the weekend. With all the extra ice time, many started to get a better feel for the speed and physicality of the game. Hopefully this added experience will help the players improve for the future. If the Tigers can get the entire team together back from injuries, and other outside obligations, they should prove to be a competitive team.
Tigers take on Mississippi State this Friday and LSU on Saturday. Both programs are recovering being on probation. LSU is coming back from being away from hockey for a few years. Both games this weekend start at 8:00pm at the Columbus Ice Rink.
The Auburn Ice Hockey Team traveled to Springdale, AR this past weekend to take on ACHA Div III powerhouse Arkansas. Arkansas has 4 SECHC championships and is consistently qualifying for ACHA Div III nationals. Auburn is still a growing program, and is struggling with it’s number of players and a lack of a goaltender this season. Auburn traveled with a total of 11 players. To say that Auburn had a tough task ahead was an understatement. Though both teams voiced concerns to the SECHC commissioner, Auburn still made the trip to follow SECHC rules and guidelines.
It became apparent early that Auburn would struggle. Arkansas showed no restraint throughout the game. Going up 12-0 after the first period, then 22-0 after the second. The final ended up 29-0. Shots for Arkansas 65. Shots for Auburn…3.
During the first game, Auburn incurred a few injuries. With the limited numbers already, compounded by injuries, Auburn was forced to forfeit the second game due to lack of numbers to compete.
Since Auburn made the trip in an attempt to fulfill our conference obligation, the SECHC and the ACHA will not punish the team for the forfeit. Auburn is still working on getting competitive numbers on it’s roster this season as well as a regular goaltender. Injuries suffered in the first game against Georgia Tech do not help as well. Both Brandon Dively and two time leading scorer Sonny MacCurrach suffered concussions against Tech. Both have questionable return times.
In this week’s player spotlight, we’ll take a look at Sonny MacCurrach (6’1″ 210lbs). Sonny is a junior studying in the College of Ag, and hails from Jacksonville, FL. Sonny was born on July 14, 1994. Sonny has played for TPH Thunder AAA, Jacksonville Ice Dogs. Sonny’s favorite NHL team is the Tampa Bay Lightning.
When Sonny’s not playing hockey, he likes to hangout with friends, do anything on a boat, fish, study and play golf.
Do you have any particular goals for the season? Improve team chemistry both on and off the ice which hopefully leads to some quality wins and good fun.
What influenced your decision to come to Auburn? The well respected College of Ag and turfgrass program is what convinced me to attend Auburn University.
Auburn Ice Hockey opened their 2014-2015 campaign this past Saturday against Georgia Tech. There were questions leading up to the weekend of if the club would be able to fill an ACHA roster due to a lack of a goaltender. The team decided to go ahead and push through the ACHA schedule this season with the uncertainty of who would be in net. Without a goalie with previous experience on the roster, the team needed to select a forward or defensemen to fill the roll.
Wil Rodell, a forward and the club’s vice-president, volunteered to play in net against the Yellow Jackets. Wil had no previous experience playing in net before, but knew the team needed someone to fill the roll in order to play. Wil stepped in and played admirably, but was not able to fend off the attach of Georgia Tech. Though he started shaky early in the game, he started to get comfortable and gain more confidence as the game progressed.
Auburn was able to tally 2 goals against Tech. Auburn struck in the 2nd period as assistant captain Chris Hickley was able to score on a wrap around. Auburn later scored in the 3rd as freshmen Braden Pichel was able to find the back of net from an assist from Hickley.
Auburn would eventually fall 12-2. The team looked very good and skated with the Yellow Jackets. The Tigers are looking to improve in the net as Rodell get’s more experience in net, and as they continue to look for and recruit another goalie.
We’re reviving the player spotlight this season! So over the course of the season we will feature a brief profile on each player, new and returning. First up, captain Carter Rivers.
Carter is (5’11”- 165). He was born on February 8th, 1994 and is from Madison, AL. He is a Junior studying Horticulture. Carter is a defensemen that started playing hockey in 1st grade. He played for Bob Jones High School and AA travel for the Huntsville Chargers travel team since Peewees.
His favorite NHL team is the Nashville Predators. When he is not playing hockey, he enjoys fishing, traveling, hanging out with friends and family, and taking long walks on the beach with teammate Joe Richard.
Do you have any particular goals for the season? My goal for the upcoming season is to create a hard working, winning environment on the team and to improve my overall game..
What influenced your decision to come to Auburn? I came to Auburn mainly because I loved the small town family environment it had.
Carter was awarded the captain’s “C” in the middle of last year. He has stepped up as a excellent leader, and we expect great things from him this season!
The Auburn University Ice Hockey Club has accepted an invitation to participate in the Civil War Showcase. The showcase will take place in Huntsville, AL over the weekend of Oct. 4-6. Auburn’s schedule will be as follows:
Oct. 4 @ 9:30pm vs Grand Valley State
Oct. 5 @ 8:30pm vs Davenport
Oct. 6 @ 9:30am vs Michigan – Flint
We’re excited about the opportunity and the challenge.
Other teams involved in the showcase are Ole Miss and Alabama.
Auburn’s game vs Georgia Tech that was suspended has been scheduled to continue this Friday, Sept. 27 at 10pm in Cumming, GA. The game on Sept. 15 was suspended due to unsafe ice conditions at the Columbus Ice Rink.
Both teams will face off again on Saturday Sept. 28 at 9pm, also in Cumming, GA.
Sunday’s game vs Georgia Tech was abruptly suspended with nearly 16 minutes left in the 2nd period due to unsafe ice conditions. A hole had developed in the ice that went down to the floor underneath. Both the officials and the rink staff determined that the ice was unsafe and the game was then suspended. Auburn and Georgia Tech are working together to find a time and location to complete this game. Both teams face off again on Sept. 28th in Cumming, GA.