Jacks hockey pounds USD

Marcus Traxler

The Jacks put on a scoring clinic, beating the Coyotes 8-3 in front of a rowdy home crowd.

Near the end of the college football season every year, Georgia and Georgia Tech play each other in a game that is commonly referred to as “Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate.”

You can call the men’s hockey meeting between SDSU and USD the same thing.

Four goals scored by Alex Johnson powered the Jacks (7-2-0) past the Coyotes (8-3) on Nov. 2 at Larson Ice Arena. The victory puts SDSU at 14 consecutive victories over USD over the last four years.

For a player like Matt George, that’s as sweet as it gets.

“It’s a rivalry. I’ve never lost to them. When you have a rival like them in-state, there’s nothing better than beating a team that’s two hours away and shares a name with you,” said George, a senior from Sioux Falls.

SDSU went up 3-1 in the first period on two goals by Johnson and a third from George. The Jacks wasted no time in the second period getting on the board 25 seconds in when Hunter Anshutz found Kaleb Juntunen on a one-timer in front of the net. Johnson tallied the hat trick on a wrist-shot from the top of the right circle to put SDSU ahead 5-1, and Peter Rogers answered a converted penalty shot by USD’s Josh Rogers to give the Jacks a 6-2 lead after two periods.

To say the game was chippy would be an understatement, and that carried over into the bleachers behind the USD bench, where SDSU fans dangled a coyote pelt. Each team had multiple game misconduct penalties issued and skirmishes in front of the net after the whistle sounded. That worked against an already undermanned Coyotes squad, who had only 12 skaters entering the game.

“That definitely changed the game,” SDSU head coach Riley Hoistad said of the penalties. “We went from having four full lines to three-and-a-half. But the fans were phenomenal and they came to see a game and we gave it to them.”

The Jacks were undefeated on the season until NDSU traveled to Brookings and took a pair of wins from SDSU on Oct. 21 and 22. A weekend sweep at the hands of their rivals meant SDSU had to regroup and focus on themselves first, according to junior captain Tom Novak.

“It all starts in the locker room and we’ve been doing a lot of things to bond as a team.  We’ve found success in the past keeping each other’s spirits up and if we can do that, we should be in good shape,” Novak said.

Freshman goaltender Mike DesLauriers made 34 saves in net for the Jackrabbits and picked up his third win of the season. The Jacks host Dordt in their final home game of the semester on Nov. 10 at 8 p.m. before ending the first half with three road games.