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Push for top spot in TCHC continues

10/16/2018, 9:30am MDT
By UTEP Hockey // minershockey.com

Miners improve to 4-2 in conference play

EL PASO -- At the start of the weekend, the Miners sat in second place in the southern division of TCHC, behind the Texas Longhorns and ahead of the Texas A&M Aggies. With a 2-1 record, the Miners knew they would have to fight every shift to come out on top. Similar to every game prior, the next 60 minutes would be, interesting. “The series was exactly what we expected,” said Coach Herman. “Hard fought hockey that came down to the wire.”
 
Miners have the one-man advantage when Jon Sanca blasts one from the blue line and puts the Miners on the board first. Aggies counter and the score is tied at the buzzer.
 
Seven minutes into the 2nd period, Aggies score off the rebound of a pass blocked by Campbell to take a 2-1 lead. Miners outshoot the Aggies 10-8 but would not be able to score and would sit with a one goal deficit after 40 minutes of play.
 
Back for the final stanza, off the feed from Austin Simpson, Jayden Ritchie scores the equalizer 41 seconds into the start of the period. Back on the power play, Jake Kopinski slides one passed Reynolds to give the Miners back the lead with 13:14 to go in the 3rd period. With the Miners spending ample time in the penalty box, Aggies use the one-man advantage and tie the game at three goals.
 
The score remains tied at the end of regulation and the game will head into overtime. Thirty-six seconds into the bonus period Matt Sanca wires a shot passed Reynolds to lift the Miners 4-3 over the Aggies in game one.
 
Reeling off the excitement of Friday night’s win, the Miners returned ready to close out the weekend in game two. With a different line up and Campbell back in net the puck dropped for game two.
 
Jayden Ritchie gets called for a hit from behind resulting in game misconduct. Unlike the night before, twenty minutes passed and the game would remain scoreless.
 
Kopinski goes unassisted and lights the lamp first with 17:00 minutes to go in the 2nd period but the Aggies answer 11 seconds later and the game is tied at one a piece. Texas A&M scores two more goals and the Miners are down, 3-1 after two periods.
 
Austin Simpson finds an opening on Reynolds rights side and pulls the Miners within one goal with 12:28 to go in the game. Despite many chances, the Aggies add one more to their tally that goes unanswered by the Miners, resulting in a 4-2 loss in game two. “As a team we need to work on team defense and playing a complete game,” said Coach Herman. “Finish each battle, each shift, each period.”
 
Miners split the series with the Aggies bringing their all time record to, 6-6. “It wasn’t the outcome we wanted but as always it was a fun series to be part of. We look forward to the rematch when we host them [Texas A&M] in January,” said Coach Herman.
 
With a 1-1 record on the weekend, Miners head to Austin, TX for an early afternoon matchup against the Texas State Bobcats. Two weeks prior, the Miners beat the Bobcats 8-2, on Friday, September 28th.
 
Off to a slow start on both sides, Freshman Fabian Calderon connects with a pass from Carlo Wittor 14:46 into the first period. Miners head to the locker room with a 1-0 lead.
 
Miners add two more goals by Jorge Duenas and Austin Simpson. Bobcats sneak one passed Angus Campbell and the score is 3-1 after the second period.
 
With 20 minutes left to play, Miners have a strong offense period scoring five more goals ending the game with an 8-1 win, completing the sweep against the Bobcats.
 
Miners are back home this weekend and will host the University of New Mexico Lobos for the Annual Stick it to Cancer weekend, October 20 and 21. “We’re looking forward to renewing the rivalry,” said Coach Herman. “Plus, it's a weekend of bringing awareness to a cause too many people have been affected by.”
 
Both games are scheduled for a 3:30pm puck drop. In show of solidarity, the Miners players and staff will add a touch pink in support of breast cancer awareness month.

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