By: Reed Gossard
The Blazers put on quite the show for the home crowd under the bright lights of Pelham Civic Center, as they handily defeated the Volunteers of Tennessee 8-3 on a crisp, clear Birmingham Friday night, exorcising their demons from two overtime losses last year at the hands of UT and giving fans just a taste of what is to come the rest of the season.
Ignited by an ironclad penalty kill, the Blazers scored four goals in the first period and dominated the Volunteers in time of possession (in hockey, called time on attack) with a silky smooth offense and suffocating defense that kept the puck in Tennessee’s offensive zone and away from goalie Aaron Roe most of the game. Hometown hero Jakob Hornsby netted his and the team’s first hat trick of the season; his third goal of the game coming on a beautiful move, bringing the puck from his back hand to his forehand, faking out the goalie and subsequently hammering it home with a quick flash of the wrists.
The second period started with a heavier, more physical atmosphere, but the Blazers kept their heads in the game and continued to play solid, efficient hockey and extended their lead to 7-1.
The third period was simply ceremonial, as Roe was pulled to allow the back up goalie some playing time, and fans and players alike joyously celebrated the 8-3 win when the buzzer sounded.
Dickinson, Corbett, Martin, Cofer, and Fulgenzi all netted one goal apiece while Phil Zbell, Gasparek, Kalson, and Rood all tallied one assist each, respectively.
After the game, Hornsby had some strong praise for his team: “We are way ahead of where we were expected to be for our first game. It blew my mind to see how well we meshed together; we have really good chemistry already. We’re going to have a great season if we continue to play like this.”
The Blazers will try to sweep the Vols tonight at 7:30 at Pelham Civic Center.