Impressive game’ by Dordt downs the Jacks in first round

Drew Johnson

Drew Johnson

The SDSU Jackrabbit men’s hockey club was unsuccessful in retaining the Walnut Cup for a second straight year. The Jacks fell to eventual runner-up Dordt College, 8-3, in the tournament’s first round Feb. 23.

“Dordt played an impressive game, probably the best I’ve ever seen them play,” said Head Coach Nate Bofenkamp.

“We had a couple of opportunities to get back into the game, but every goal we scored, they quickly answered.”

The game started off fast with good flow. In the middle of the first period, Dordt scored and began to control the game.

In the second period, SDSU came out flying. Senior Chase Mowry lit the lamp early to put SDSU on the board, but Dordt answered with a goal a few minutes later. SDSU got back in the game with goals from sophomore Jeff Hitchcock and junior Roy Sando.

Tempers started to flair and chants of “U-S-A” to the mainly-Canadian Dordt team rang out halfway through the period as the scoring picked up. Toward the end of the period, penalties started to mount. At one point, the teams skated on wide-open ice, as each team played with two men down.

SDSU entered the third period on a power play, down 6-3. But the Jacks failed and all hopes of a comeback died when Dordt scored two more goals to win.

Dordt appeared to want it more, as the teams were about even in shots. Dordt had more scoring opportunities, and once they got ahead, they kept the momentum.

“The game was in our control until Dordt snuck a few goals past us and took away our momentum,” Bofenkamp said.

The loss was tough to swallow for the Jacks, as they appeared to be equally matched.

“The loss was pretty disappointing because we just didn’t come to play and that cost us in the end,” senior Jake Gustafson said.

Arguably the most exciting play in the game was a rare penalty shot. SDSU’s sophomore Brian Hermanson was hooked on a breakaway, resulting in a penalty shot in the third period. Hermanson missed the penalty shot, and the game was all but over. With a few scuffles before the final horn, SDSU was looking toward a third-place game.

The third-place game was cancelled because Carleton wanted to leave before the weather declined, so SDSU won by forfeit. The championship game was still played. Iowa State came away victorious in a 4-0 win against Dordt.

The Jacks are not ranked high enough to qualify for the national tournament, so the team is finished for the season.

“I just want to say thank you to all the fans for their support this year. They are the ones who make it possible for us to continue playing competitive hockey and hope they enjoyed watching the team play this year,” Bofenkamp said.