The DI Redbirds were still looking for their first win on home ice Saturday night when they took on University of Arkansas for the second of two games at the US Cellular Coliseum. They got the W, and in decisive fashion.
ISU was looking for some redemption after dropping the first game to Arkansas 4-2 on Friday night.
“Last night we saw what Arkansas had to offer and we made some adjustments,” said Head coach Mike Marquardt. “We dialed the guys in and they committed to the game plan for all sixty minutes and it really showed out there with this win.”
The Redbirds didn’t take too long to get started and capitalized on a power play two and a half minutes into the first. Not letting up, the ‘Birds came out and got Luke Morin the puck to score the second less than a minute later putting them up 2-0. The explosive start proved crucial as Arkansas was never able to get the offense rolling.
“As a coaching staff we sat down and talked,” said Marquardt. “Arkansas plays a very passive game: they flip the puck out and they wait for us to make turnovers. Our goal was to hit them hard and force them to come at us with speed because we knew we would beat them. We knew they could not beat us off the rush. Getting that early lead allowed us to make them change out game and it played right into our hands.”
“I think the explosive start was big,” said Luke Morin, who scored two goals. “Last night we were kind of flat and seemed tired, but tonight everybody came out and seemed ready to win. “
Arkansas didn’t put one in the back of the net until halfway through the first when some scrappy second shots got passed ISU goaltender David Krienke.
It didn’t take long for ISU to respond, though, as Parker Johnson got a pass down the ice from Joey Bower that got him the break-away snipe, putting the ‘Birds up by two goals yet again with eight minutes to go. Just five minutes later they extended their lead with a second chance goal by Tim Talty off of another shot by Johnson.
With the start of the second and the shots on goal even at around 15 piece, Arkansas came out and scored first, but yet again was answered by Morin’s second goal of the night with thirteen left to play. Less than thirty seconds later Joey Bower buried one, forcing Arkansas to call a timeout to regroup.
The offense was rolling all night and when the final horn went off it was the ‘Birds with a six goal lead.
“The last few weekends we’ve had one line that’s been carrying the load,” said Morin. “Today everybody was contributing and that’s what’s going to make us a top team.”
Krienke was feeling good between the pipes, stopping 35 Arkansas SOG, with some amazing midair grabs to assist in the team win.
“Any game like that where we have a nice cushion is good for a goalie to keep going,” said Krienke. “I had some steady pucks that kept coming and it was easy to stay into it. I was seeing them well so hopefully that leads to a few more good games.”
“We’ve got three number one goalies, and to be able to put any of them in at any time is awesome,” sid Marquardt. “Krienke showed us what he’s had for his career here. He’s picking up right where he left off. He made some huge saves and kept the momentum going our way, you can’t ask for anything more from a goaltender. A couple of those sneak through and you can see a different score, the momentum could shift really quickly. Having him between the pipes really helped us out, he was a huge anchor tonight.”
The Redbirds are back at the Coliseum next Friday when they take on DI opponent Robert Morris University.