With state bragging rights and the season series on the line, the Vanderbilt Ice Hockey Club vanquished its instate rival the University of Tennessee Ice Vols 6-2 in the 2014 I-40 Face-Off. The fourth installment of the “Interstate Face-Off Series” hostedÂ by the Commodores, Sunday’s win also marked a bounce back for the club from last year’s thrilling 8-7 overtime loss to Alabama.
Vanderbilt’s top lineÂ dazzled in the season finale with junior right wing Daniel Hogue scoring two goals, sophomore left wing Jack Gibbons notching a goal and an assist, and freshman sensation John Longman adding a goal and three assists.
Following a first period UT goal that put the Commodores in an early 1-0 deficit, Longman responded byÂ winningÂ a face-off to himselfÂ inÂ the Volunteer zone andÂ snapping a quick shot over the goalie’s shoulder to tie the game.Â Minutes later, Hogue put Vanderbilt ahead for the first time by wheeling out of the corner and rifling a backhander from the high slot to beat the Vols goalie.
Vanderbilt poured on the pressure, and goals, in the second when Hogue, senior captain Anthony Bilotta, and Gibbons scored to extend the lead to 5-1. Tennessee would cut into the differenceÂ with a power play goal in the third following a slashing penalty by freshman Stephen Wei, only to seeÂ Bilotta restore the four-goal cushion with a short-handed breakaway goal late in the third.
A generally clean game throughout turned ugly in the third when the VolunteersÂ crashed the net and junior goalie Andrew Keen.Â The video appears to confirm thatÂ the Ice Vols winger fired into the crease with a couple of healthy hacks. Keen responded by popping up and engagingÂ in what doctors call “spirited fisticuffs,” ultimately landing him in the penalty box with a two-minute penalty and a ten-minute misconduct. For his role in the fracas,Â #44 for Tennessee Nick Weaver received a five-minute major and a game misconduct.
Overall, the game proved to be one of Vanderbilt’s best performances of theÂ season. Junior defenseman and club president Greg Kirk shared after the game that “we really wanted to send our seniors out with a win and also win the season series against those guys.” On the performance of the first line, Kirk had nothing but praise. “What can you say, their lineÂ scoredÂ five of the six goals. They did an amazing job throwing pucks at the net and mucking in the corners. Hats off to those guys.”
Before the game, the Commodores hosted their annual end-of-season banquet and awards ceremony. The honorees included:
- The Ken “Red” Murphy Most Valuable Player – John Longman (22 goals, 16 assists, +28)
- Most Outstanding Senior – Alan Leeser (7 goals, 8 assists, 15 points)
- Most Outstanding Officer – Jack Delehey (2013 Club President)
- Most Improved Player – Bo Korpman (4 wins including a shutout against rival Georgia)
- Rookie of the Year – Zach Satin (5 Goals, 5 assists, +19)
In attendance at the event were several special guests who hadÂ contributed to the program throughout the season.Â The team at Penalty Box Radio – Justin Bradford, Big Ben, Stan Laws, and ZachÂ Bryan – as well as newly appointed hockey director for the Ford Ice Center Craig MacDonald joined in the season celebration.
The Offseason Awaits
TheÂ I-40 marked the close to the 2013/14 season for the Commodores. With a 9-14-1 record, the boys in black and gold will look forward to riding some second semester momentum into the 2014/15 season in its quest for an SECHC title.
Thanks to everyone for supporting the boys throughout the year and looking forward to seeing everyone at our new club home in 2014/15 – the Ford Ice Center in Antioch, Tennessee. Just 19 minutes from campus, the brand new facility should be a game-changer for players and fans alike. We can’t wait to get started!