Tag: Ole Miss

Two-Win Weekend Highlighted By First Victory Over Arkansas

Last season’s Commodores cruised through much of their schedule, beating teams by sheer talent and the ability to pile up goals. However, playing disciplined, physical teams proved to be a challenge for Vanderbilt in 2014-2015. This past weekend the team was offered an opportunity for revenge against two such clubs, responding with two victories in three games against Ole Miss and Arkansas.

The weekend began on Friday night at Ford Ice Center where Vandy took on Ole Miss. Last year the Dores suffered a heartbreaking loss in Mississippi as the Rebels scored two goals in the final two minutes of the game to win. The game started quickly thanks in large part to the efforts of freshman forward Blake Beber who scored one goal and assisted another. The rest of the period was fairly quiet and VU left the ice after one with a 2-0 lead. In the second, Ole Miss tied the game but John Longman responded only 11 seconds later to put Vandy back on top. Beber took over again in the third, scoring an early goal and adding a second assist on Jack Gibbons’ late in the game to prevent a comeback in what was a 4-2 game. The freshman’s fourth point of the night gave the Commodores a 5-2 lead they would carry until the final buzzer.

“Going up against Ole Miss was a great way to start the weekend because we knew we had three big games to take care of,” explained Beber, who is second on the team in scoring. “Getting the energy boost from Friday night with a big team win was great to take into the two Arkansas games.”

With a victory already under their belt, the Dores turned their attention to Arkansas, a team widely regarded as the powerhouse of the SECHC with five of the last six SECHC Tournament Championships. Vanderbilt entered Saturday evening 0-3 all-time against Arkansas, being outscored 27-2 in those three games. The game started off fast-paced and physically, with neither team reaching the scoreboard until the Razorbacks scored a goal with just over two minutes left in the first period. The second period featured more physical play, but no scoring. The game remained 1-0 until Arkansas capitalized on a 5-on-3 powerplay midway through the third period. Penalties were an issue for the Commodores throughout the third period, with four minors and a misconduct hindering any chance at a comeback. Matt Murphy scored a goal with 1:10 left to cut the lead to one, and although Arkansas hung on for the 2-1 victory, Vanderbilt’s players felt that they had proven they could compete with a team who had mystified them in the past.

“The loss on Saturday helped us realize what we needed to do to beat this team,” said senior defenseman Michael Hite. “This team had been a lot of trouble for us in the past, but we came in the next morning with the expectation of winning.”

The Commodores jumped on the Razorbacks early on Sunday, with graduate student Brock Raffaele scoring his first goal of his Vanderbilt career early in the first to put the home team ahead. It was another fast and physical game, but Ryan Kellenberger stood tall in the pipes to keep the 1-0 lead going through the first two periods. Early in the third, Captain John Longman scored his first of the game, and the lead would only increase from there. Longman would score two more goals in the period for a natural hat trick and Jack Gibbons added one of his own with just over a minute left to put the Commodores up 5-0. Kellenberger stopped all 22 shots he faced for his first shutout of the season against arguably the toughest opponent the Commodores have faced thus far.

“This was a great weekend for us against a very good Arkansas team,” noted Kellenberger. “Things did not go our way Saturday, but we stayed the course and Sunday we took it to them. I think it is a big stepping stone for us as we know we can play with the best teams in the league if we play like we know we can.”

After the weekend, the Commodores’ record sits at 7-2 and the team is currently tied for first in the first ever SECHC Coaches’ Poll. Next weekend Vanderbilt takes on Delaware and Clemson at home, looking to continue their recent success.

Game on.

Newsflash ladies and gentlemen. Hockey is in fact not locked out here in Nashville, Tennessee, as the newspapers would suggest, not by a long shot. The Jr. Preds are back in action, the GNASH high school hockey league is prepping to shake off its summer rust and start another campaign, and your Vanderbilt Commodores ice hockey club is just hours away from dropping the puck in Memphis versus SECHC rival Ole Miss. The 2012/13 season is upon us and the boys in black and gold couldn’t be more excited to kick things off.

Back with the Old

Returning for the upcoming campaign is senior captain, club president, two-time club MVP, part-time scholar, and full-time dangler Kyle McCann, a.k.a James Earl Jones. McCann is joined by fellow seniors Mackie Anderson, Ryan Blatt, and Scooter McLaughlin plus a host of juniors who are too uniformly distinguished to single out by name.

Despite a bum wing and the dreaded chore of cramming for the LSATs over the next several weeks, McLaughlin says he’s particularly fired up for the season.

“It’s the last time I’ll play competitive hockey pretty much ever,” McLaughlin said, noting that, “While I’m sure I’ll enjoy beer league well into my 80s, there’s just something about popping on those shoulder pads and firing into a legit game that I know I’ll miss.”

In with the New

There are a slew of new faces in the mix for 2012/13, including sophomore goaltender Andrew Keen who will be making his debut between the pipes for the ‘Dores tonight. A transfer from Connecticut College, Keen is a Massachusetts native who Coach Bernstein describes as “the most freakishly normal goaltender [he’s] ever met.” Says Bernstein, “I’m used to this kid from Texas who used to listen to Taylor Swift on repeat before games and pass around orange-flavored smelling salts between periods. Keener is the opposite … which, to be honest, worries me a little.”

Keen will have some fellow newbies holding down the ice in front of him including two defensemen from New Jersey, Michael Hite and Greg Kirk. Interestingly enough, the two played together a decade ago on a Jr. Devils team tournament team that traveled to Quebec. “I’m not sure if Kirk even remembers that,” says Hite. “Guess I’ll have to make a bigger impression on him this go around.”

Freshmen Jack Gibbons and Chad Wyatt will provide some firepower upfront, as will sophomore not-so-newbie Daniel Hogue. Hoagie was a freshman last year and skated with the club in the spring but unfortunately was too late in signing up to come out for the team. He’ll now be looking to make up for lost time starting with tonight’s match-up.

Asked to comment on his debut, Hogue was succinct if not vague. “Dangle, cheddar, top-shelf, cele. All night.” We suppose that means he’s ready to play.

It All Starts Tonight

The festivities kick off tonight against a formidable Ole Miss team that the Vanderbilt club has lost to four straight times. The last trip to Memphis landed two players in the hospital so it is safe to say that the club is in for all it can handle and more.

Bring the wife, the kids, the Nanas and Grampys because the NHL is locked out, the SECHC is open for business, and it’s hockey night in Memphis!

Vanderbilt @ Ole Miss

Game starts at 9:15pm CT

Mid-South Ice House | Map
10705 Ridgeway Industrial Drive
Olive Branch, MS
(901) 881-8544

“The Rest of the Season Starts Now” (Video)

No words needed to recap a tough weekend at home versus Ole Miss, just some marvelous production work by Coach Ben Gatlin.

Enjoy folks and we’ll see you in Pelham this weekend. “The rest of the season starts now … ”

Films by Ben Gatlin

(Script) Here’s the thing that makes life so interesting.
The theory of evolution claims that “only the strong shall survive.”
Maybe so… maybe so …
But the theory of competition says, “just because they’re the strong doesn’t mean they can’t get their kicked”.
That’s right. See, what every long shot, come from behind, underdog will tell ya is this: the other guy may in fact be the favorite, the odds may be stacked against you. Fair enough.
But what the odds don’t know is, this isn’t a math test.
This is a completely different kind of test.
One where passion, has a funny way of trumping logic.
So before you step up to the starting line, before the whistle blows, and the clocks start ticking just remember: out here the results don’t always add up.
No matter what the stats may say and the experts may think and the commentators may have predicted, when the race is on, ALL BETS ARE OFF.
Don’t be surprised be if someone decides to flip the script and take a pass on yelling “Uncle.”
And then suddenly as the old saying goes …
“We’ve got ourselves a game.”

Pair of Losses Spoils Gatlin Family Reunion

The Commodores failed to notch a win in two contests in Southaven, Mississippi, this weekend versus the Ole Miss Rebels, losing 4-1 on Friday and 9-5 on Saturday. This despite graduate student Ben Gatlin’s family being in attendance to offer its support.

Said Ichabod Gatlin, purveyor of fine artisan cheeses and backscratchers hailing from the greater Wausau region of Wisconsin, “I thought I traveled 1,000 miles to see the #14 ranked team in the southeast play some hockey.  All I saw was a bunch of kids and my nephew  … well, playing hockey.”

Ben’s cousin Naomi, she of Milan, Italy, agreed.

“Ho partecipato non riesco a credere nel gioco. Era terribile.”

We think she agreed, anyway.

Beaten and Battered

Friday’s game was a hard fought battle that remained tight well into the third period when a pair of injuries took the wind out of the Commodores’ sails. The first came when junior Jack McCallum, in his first game of the season following a semester abroad, went down with a knee-to-knee hit.

“Definitely one of the uglier injuries I’ve seen since joining the [Ole Miss] team,” said the Rebels’ trainer Chad Ray who thankfully was on hand to offer immediate support. After initially fearing the worst, McCallum was diagnosed with a more benign but nevertheless serious dislocation of his left knee cap.  His season, not even a game old, was subsequently finished.

“When it happened, I was thinking it was an ACL,” McCallum explained, “but when they stinted it the knee cap popped back into place and the pain went from a 10 to a 2. Could’ve been a lot worse I guess.”

Following shortly after Jack’s injury, freshman Evan Sclafani got crunched on a play in the neutral zone and came off with what his coach suspected may have been a broken collarbone.

Brenden Oliver and injured 'Dore Evan Sclafani

“Evan is 155 pounds soaking wet, so when he gets checked by one of the bruisers on the other side you’ve got to hold your breath.”

Thankfully, as with McCallum, Sclafani received a better than expected diagnosis, a deep contusion bruise to his collarbone rather than a break.  He will be week to week heading into the final five games of the season.

The game’s result was sealed soon thereafter following a 2-on-1 goal, then an empty netter.

Baptist Desoto Hospital, NOT the Model of Efficiency

At around 5:15am in exam room #24 of Southaven’s Baptist Desoto Hospital, it occurred to coach Bernstein that he should have asked junior goalie Brenden Oliver to head back to the hotel hours before.  Saturday’s starting goalie ended up getting less than four hours of sleep before facing a relentless attack that fired 85 shots on net (or so the 9-year-old keeping score would have you believe).

“It was more like 65,” said Oliver, “which is still insane.”

Seriously ... 85 Shots!

Before the Vandy club ran out of gas in the latter half of the third period, the game followed a similar track to the previous night, closely contested and well played. Vanderbilt was led by junior center and club vice president Matt Kaminsky who, like McCallum, was playing in his first games of the season following semester abroad in the fall.  Kaminsky notched two goals, both of the bag-o-ugly ilk, plus provided some terrific play on the back check.

Ultimately, the guys just could not match their short bench against a well conditioned Ole Miss squad for the full 60 minutes.  Moving forward into the remainder of the schedule, the boys from Nash-vegas will look forward to employing additional reinforcements for games against Mississippi State, Louisville, and Georgia Tech.

Celebrity in the House

On hand for Saturday’s game was former Ole Miss football great and current New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning.  Yeah, we were as surprised as you are.  Here’s the pic ( … kind of blurry and a bad angle but you can’t mistake the signature “flow” and trucker hat):

Eli Manning in the Stands

Not surprisingly, our New England-heavy roster was not as enthusiastic about the Super Bowl XVII MVP’s presence at Saturday’s contest as the rest of the fans and players.