Bronchos sweep Bears in WCHL throwdown
The Central Oklahoma Bronchos hockey team defeated the Missouri State Bears 3-0 and 8-4 this weekend, sweeping their WCHL conference rivals and improving to a 13-1-0 record on the season.
Forward Vitali Mikhailov opened the scoring at the 4:10 mark in the first period with an unassisted goal, as the Bronchos dominated possession of the puck and forced the Bears to play on their heels in their own third of the ice.
Star freshman forward Cash Regan added another goal at 16:43 in the first, with the Bronchos outshooting Missouri State 36-20 in the game and 17-6 in the first period alone. A tense second period saw the Bears get more chances and nearly score, with 11 shots to UCO’s 13. But goalie Artem Lantukh was a brick wall in front of goal as he racked up 20 saves and his second shutout of his three starts.
Forward Adam Stalzer added a third goal late in the second period, and UCO cruised the rest of the way on a strong defensive effort.
Saturday’s match saw an offensive explosion as a shootout broke out on the ice, with the teams combining to score 7 goals in the first period alone. UCO opened the scoring through forward Sam Sykes at the 5:20 mark, before MSU evened it up a little over a minute later at 6:32 through defenseman Blake Harper on a power play. UCO’s Ondrej Blaha put the Bronchos back up 2-1 at 9:42, before the Bears’ William Baginski tied it up again at 12:39. Sykes hit his second goal at 14:03 to retake the lead at 3-2, but then Bears forward Landon Boothe struck one into the net for another tie at 16:30.
But when Adam Stalzer broke the tie at 17:44 in the first period to put UCO up 4-3, the Bronchos didn’t look back, allowing only one more goal on the way to an 8-4 victory.
The third period saw a massive fracas break out, however, as UCO forward Carter Eha and Missouri State forward Terrance Josephson went at it after a collision. The resulting melee and referee decision saw Josephson and Eha slapped with 15-minute violations and one-game suspensions, with Missouri State’s Sam Frederick and Jason Kelly, as well as UCO’s Robby Rabroker and Kameron Williams, all being penalized for two minutes for roughing.
The Bronchos continue their two-month home stand on Nov. 17 and 18 at Arctic Edge Ice Arena, with the sixth-ranked University of Jamestown Jimmies coming into town.