EL PASO -- Back on home ice the Miners opened a two-game series Saturday afternoon against the University of New Mexico Lobos. A physical Lobos team proved to be a battle from puck drop for the Miners, but Miners were the better team and beat the Lobos, 7-5.
The first period looked to be all Miners, even with a late goal from the Lobos. Freshman Jake Kopinski and Carlo Wittor had two points, one goal and one assist, each at the end of the first stanza. Miners headed into the break with a 4-1 lead.
The Lobos found their pace in the second period with an early short-handed goal but, Austin Simpson countered for the Miners keeping the Miners lead at 5-2. Matt Sanca tallied a short-handed goal and the score would stay 6-3 going into the third period.
Kevin Duncan opens the scoring in the third period with an early goal, bringing the Miner total to seven goals. On paper, the Lobos outscored the Miners 2-1 in the final stanza, but Goaltender John-Luke Prystayko would keep the Lobos to only five goals. Miners keep their lead and win the game, 7-5.
The Miners will face the Lobos one more time Sunday.
Following a close game Saturday afternoon, Miners left nothing to chance on Sunday afternoon and put a stamp on their home stand with an 11-3 win against the UNM Lobos.
Early goals from Jon Sanca and Austin Simpson gave the Miners a comfortable two goal lead going into the first intermission. The Lobos had some decent chances in front of net, but Angus Campbell snuffed them out and kept the Lobos off of the score sheet.
After an early second period goal from Austin Simpson, New Mexico nabbed two goals of their own, bringing the score to 3-2. After some very physical play Carlo Wittor, Kevin Duncan, and Jake Kopinski gave the Miners some breathing room with a trio of goals securing the Miners a 6-2 lead at the end of the second period.
With plenty of chirping from both sides, after five periods of physical hockey in a 24-hour span Miners found their best form of the weekend in the third period and scored five more goals. Goaltender Angus Campbell gets called for unsportsmanlike conduct resulting in game disqualification. With Campbell out, back-up goaltender Prystayko, who currently was dressed as a forward, would have to take position in net, without his pads. At a disadvantage, Prystayko would hold the Lobos to only one goal in two minutes of play. Miners and Prystayko hold on and the Miners complete the sweep with a 11-3 win in game two.
Austin Simpson’s two third period goals complete the hat trick, marking his third hat trick of the season. Jake Kopinksi added his second of the night while Jorge Duenas and Jayden Ritchie add to the third period total, scoring their first goals of the weekend.
Miners will take a week off before heading out back on the road to complete the home and away series against the Lobos.