O’FALLON, Ill. – Meeting for the first time on the ice, Midland University and McKendree University split a pair of games inside the McKendree Metro Rec Plex in O’Fallon, Illinois. The Bearcats took the Friday night opener by a score of 4-1 before the Warriors rebounded with a 5-2 win on Saturday evening.
The teams played an even 48 minutes on Friday. After a scoreless opening period, each team found the back of the net once in the second period of play. Luke Sanko broke the deadlock with an unassisted goal at the 12:00 mark of the second. Dominic Naas tied the game back up though five minutes later with a goal of his own.
While the scoreboard wasn’t getting much use for goals in the first 40 minutes of play, it was seeing plenty of penalty minutes put up. Midland was the recipient of more than their fair share of the whistles as they were called for seven penalties for 14 minutes while McKendree was only whistled for three penalties.
In the third the Bearcats were able to break the tie and then add a pair of goals for cushion. They scored three goals in a span of 1:19 to make it 4-1 with 11:01 remaining. Midland did all they could to work their way back but were unable to light the lamp the rest of the way on Friday. Tymen Edelkoort had 26 saves in defeat.
Saturday’s game began with McKendree jumping out to a 1-0 lead in the first nine minutes of the game. The Warriors would respond with two goals in the first though to take a 2-1 lead heading into the first intermission.
Colton Jones scored off a pass from Sanko and Kevin Finley and then Sanko scored his second goal of the weekend off a pass from Fletcher Chun.
McKendree would tie the game in the second setting up a battle in the final 20 minutes.
In the final period, the Warriors were able to break the tie after 13 and a half minute of play. It was Ben Bergman scoring the eventual game-winner off assists from Drew Carriere and Ryan Conybear.
After the Bearcats pulled their goalie in a last ditch effort to get back into the game, Kevin Finley scored an empty-netter with just under two minutes to go. Jesse Stepp would add an additional uncontested goal with 39 seconds to go to give Midland the 5-2 win. Dakota McDonald earned the win in net, stopping 32 of 34 shots in 60 minutes of action.
Midland (7-9) will return home to Sidner Ice Arena for their final series of the semester. The Warriors will host Central Oklahoma on December 6-7 in Fremont, Nebraska. Puck drop is set for 7:45 p.m. on Friday and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.