FREMONT, Neb. – In the first action of the New Year, Midland University split a pair of games with No. 12-ranked University of Central Oklahoma at home. The Warriors took the first game on Friday night by a score of 4-2 before dropping Saturday’s closely fought game 5-4. The split moves Midland’s record to 8-10 on the season and will likely move them up in the ACHA Men’s Division 1 computer rankings. They were 47th in the rankings at the end of the fall semester.
On Friday, Luke Sanko got the Warriors going early as he scored early in the first period. Jordan Tieken and Ben Bergan were credited with the assists on the goal scored at the 3:12 mark. The Bronchos would even things up near the midway point though with a power-play goal at the 8:52 mark.
Later in the opening period Drew Carriere would put Midland back up a goal as Mason Cirone and Sanko assisted on the goal.
In the second the two teams played scoreless hockey for nearly the entire period. With time winding down Central Oklahoma found the equalizer once again as the score with 41 seconds to go before the intermission.
The second period did see its fair share of stoppages though as they two teams were whistled for a combined seven penalties. Midland had three players sent to the box while Central Oklahoma had four. For the game there would be 13 total penalties for a total of 34 minutes.
After the second intermission the teams played 12 minutes before Cirone broke the tie with a goal off assists from Colton Jones and Phil Liakakos. Carriere would add another goal to the ledger five minutes later as he scored his second goal of the game off an assist from Cirone and Liakakos.
On Saturday the Bronchos took advantage on the scoreboard first as they found the back of the net at the 9:06 mark of the opening period. They would add another at the 17:32 point before Midland responded with a goal of their own with 24 seconds left.
That goal came with Midland on a 4-on-3 advantage. Carriere took a pass from Jones and Sanko then buried it past the goalie who had come out to take away Carriere’s angle. Jones would collide with the Broncho’s netminder which cascaded into a scrum that saw three players from each team getting sent to the locker rooms.
After the intermission Midland came out and took advantage of the second-string goalie scoring twice in the period to take a 3-2 lead. Tyler Kupka and Hamish Campbell scored for the Warriors.
The lead would be short-lived though as Central Oklahoma would even things up before the end of the period. They would then take back the lead five minutes into the final period of play. Scoring at the 5:13 mark on the power-play.
Cirone would get his second goal of the weekend midway through the third to pull the Warriors even once more with 10:59 left on the game clock. Things looked to be trending towards overtime until the Bronchos found a gap in the Warriors’ defense with just 1:19 left in the game.
Midland did their best to get that goal back, pulling their goalie as time went under a minute but came up just short of forcing extra time.
All in all it was a productive weekend as Midland earned the split. The two teams will meet once more this season when the Warriors travel to Edmond, Oklahoma in February.