Fire met ice as the first round of the infamous Border War against the University of Missouri involved a stellar comeback for the Kansas Jayhawks as they triumphed on both Friday, Nov. 10 and Saturday, Nov. 11.
On Friday night, the two teams made their rivalry evident through the immediate physicality of the play and skating exhibited on the fresh ice. The Jayhawks’ movement and passes into the Tiger zone proved successful when #12 Preston McConnell scored the first of the night 6 minutes into the game, followed closely by a wrist shot from #22 Miles Manson. A Mizzou goal on their power play found its way onto the Silverstein scoreboard, only to be followed by goals from #3 Brandon Burgess, two more from #12 Manson (earning a Border War hat trick), as well as one from #12 McConnell on a KU power play. Goalie #60 Cooper Johnston stood his ground with solid saves and temperament throughout the match, despite the frequent scuffles and hits on the ice. Plenty of trips to the penalty box were taken by the two contending forces, and Mizzou managed to net one in the second period in the midst of the dirtier play and faster pace. Another back-and-forth game ensued for the majority of the period, interrupted by a goal from captain #23 Bockman, concluding the two eventful periods at 7-2.
A powerful start and harder skating ushered in the third period as the Jayhawks aimed to increase the scoreboard tally by even more goals. As tensions and voices rose, so did the penalties, but goals from #23 Bockman and #4 Ben Illies only heightened the Jayhawks’ morale for the remainder of the heated game. The first round of the matchup ended with a final goal from #12 McConnell to bring Kansas up 12-2 on a fiery Friday night.
The Tigers began the Saturday afternoon game with a significant increase in pressure as they hoped for a comeback to even out the series. Goalie #1 Ben Smith countered their rushes with finesse, enabling #22 Manson to score the first of the day. It was soon answered by a Mizzou goal but followed closely by one from #19 Reece Doty, powered by passion and constant fighting for the puck. After a period full of attempts and power plays, #9 Logan Haverstrom scored in the last 26 seconds. #23 Bockman started the second period off with good energy and a goal, causing the Tigers to amplify their aggressiveness on the ice with a successful shot in response. After several penalties for both sides, #8 Brad Glass scored, followed again by Mizzou until #18 Conor Ryan net two in a row, bringing Kansas up to a tally of 7-3 to finish the period. KU exhibited a dynamic final round as #23 Bockman scored his second of the game despite all the commotion and flaring tempers from the bench and the boards. Even though the Tigers slipped one more past the home pipes, #9 Haverstrom finalized the Kansas win with another goal to make it 9-4, solidifying KU’s domination in the Border War yet again.
“We have to stay out of the box, we need to play smarter hockey, harder hockey, our kind of hockey,” Head Coach Andy McConnell said. “When you get shorthanded on the bench, penalties become more common. Next weekend against Arkansas, I expect our best play – it’s probably our biggest game of the season and sets the tone for us making it to Regionals, if not Nationals. Our goalies Ben Smith and Cooper Johnston played unreal – if not for them, the scores could have been a lot closer.”
“We’re on the other side of the fence now,” Captain Brent Bockman said. “Arkansas always gives us a tough game, we have to be ready to battle and not start out slow. We do have some mental lapses at times, but we have to play hard and not just on the other team’s level. All four lines were moving their feet, played well, and finished strong.”
Veteran’s Day Feature: Reece Doty
From Greeley, CO, star forward #19 Reece Doty exemplifies grit and heart on and off the ice as an integral member of the hockey team and the United States military. After his service abroad and time at Siena College, he joined KU as a grad student and has been displaying passion and character in the game for the Jayhawks ever since.
“Reece Doty, our veteran, and teammate is always a critical factor in our success.” Head Coach Andy McConnell said. “Every practice and game he brings energy and leadership that is unrivaled to any on the bench. This team wouldn’t be where we are without him and the fact that he also has served our country overseas and is still serving here in the States makes it even more humbling. He’s led men in battle and is now helping lead our team to win hockey games. He is truly a special player and individual and we are lucky to have him.”
An invaluable contribution to the club as a teammate, mentor, and friend, a Border War sweep was only fitting to celebrate him and all the veterans in the nation.