The Miners kicked off the home stand against the Grand Canyon University Antelopes with a 9-3 victory after a very late puck drop on Friday night. Donald Alchin and Austin Simpson opened the scoring for the Miner and put up a solid game for UTEP as both went on picking up four points apiece. Jason Moore found the third and final goal for the Miners in the period, tapping one home back post after a beautiful entrance into the zone from Dominik Taras and Jake Kopinski.
Grand Canyon had some nice looks to start the second but ultimately Alchin scored first. The Antelopes did find twine on the power play for their first goal of the game. After that came two goals from Matt Sanca, one from Taras, and one from Alchin as the Miners went into the second break up 8-1. GCU found some fight in the third notching two goals to Fabian Perez’s one. The game was physical from the second the puck dropped, but that was most evident in the final frame as both teams picked up some minutes in the penalty box for extracurricular activities. Cooler heads eventually prevailed and the Miners ended with a 9-3 victory at about 1 o’clock in the morning.
Two embattled teams stepped on the ice at the El Paso events center on Saturday afternoon for game two. A very physical game on Friday night led to an even more physical game on Saturday. Grand Canyon had a full bench and kept their shifts short in order to be as physical as possible. Even then the Miners came out faster with goals from Carlo Wittor and Donald Alchin in the first three and a half minutes. GCU countered with a goal before the fifth minute mark, but Matt Sanca, Jason Moore, and Alchin would all answer before the end of the frame. There seemed to be a shoving match after every whistle and both teams spent time serving penalties, but only Moore’s goal was on the power play.
The second period was indisputably UTEP’s as Grand Canyon could find no answer to the relentless possession game in their own zone. Fabian Calderon did it all alone to find UTEP’s first of the period, stealing an errant pass and sending in a wicked wrister. Jon Sanca turned his hustle into a goal before Austin Simpson sniped a pair of tallies. Matt Sanca assisted Simpson’s second and also got the lone helper for Alchin’s third of the game, completing his hat trick. The third period opened with three miner goals, one from Matt Cap, then two from Fabian Perez who picked up his hat trick in the process. Both of Perez’s third period goals were assisted by Fabian Calderon. GCU found three goals in a row to end the frame but the Miners held on for a 14-4 victory. They will see GCU again next week, Nov. 16 and 17 on the road.