Blazers Break Out Brooms, Sweep Ice Vols in Season Series

By: Reed Gossard

The UAB Blazers return home from Knoxville, Tennessee with their heads held high.

This past weekend, the Blazers dueled twice over with the Tennessee Ice Vols and accomplished a proud milestone for the fledgling program, finishing off Tennessee in both contests and cementing a season sweep of the “the oldest and most established hockey team in the Southern United States.”- https://twitter.com/icevolshockey?lang=en

In a tight first stanza, played out at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum late Friday night, an early goal by the Volunteers was met by an equalizer from Cameron Fulgenzi, also early in the first period.

After a Zach Rood goal, Fulgenzi again scored to make it 3-1 Blazers in the top half of the second period. Tennessee then scored two quick goals  to make it 3-3 all, before Jacob Hornsby and Kyle Feeney scored to make it 5-3 heading into the final act.

A tightly contested third period saw two more Ice Vol goals to make it 5-5 with under five minutes to go, until Charlie Corbett scored the game winner off of a nice feed from Hornsby at the three minute mark. Sam Schilling, in goal for the Blazers, made a last second pad save to stave off overtime and give UAB a 6-5 win, one game away from sweeping.

Hornsby tallied five assists and a goal, while Fulgenzi (2), Rood, Feeney, and Corbett netted goals of their own for the Blazers.

Saturday night’s contest was decided much quicker than Friday’s game.

Cameron Dickinson scored the lone goal of the first period in a furious three-on-one forecheck. Dale Gaskins and James Martin came crashing into the Tennessee defensive zone, creating room for Dickinson to fire off a quick wrist shot that bounced off of the orange shoulder pad of the opposing goalie. Dickinson swiftly rebounded the puck and without a moment to spare netted his sole goal of the game.

The second period belonged to Kyle Feeney.

Relatively limited in his offensive output for much of the first portion of the season, Feeney added four second period goals to bring his weekend scoring total to five as he helped bury the Volunteers on their home ice. Three of his goals came betweeen the thirteenth and fifteenth minutes of the second act, a lightning fast barrage that stifled any chances of the men in orange gaining any momentum.

Feeney, on where the scoring outburst came from:

“I know if I put myself in the best position to score a goal I have done my job on the ice. They teach this stuff all the way from Mini-Mites to the Show; effort is everything. I was just in the right place at the right time and my teammates executed our offense beautifully, giving me the ability to score like I did.”

Dillon Gasparek netted his first two goals of the season in the third period. The center dominated on the ice, leveraging his six-foot-three-inch frame to deliver brutal, possession ending hits while also adding some offensive flare to the mix. He lead an impressive third line that scored three of the eight Blazer goals.

Gasparek, on what fueled the offensive output:

“The third line really wanted to bounce back after a tough night on Friday. We were a little sloppy, and we wanted to go into the game on Saturday with a different mindset, putting our focus back on the basics. I think the three goals speak for themselves.”

Schilling, playing as a winger in Saturday night’s game, scored his first goal of the season in the third period as well, off of a beautiful assist placed right in front of the net by Dickinson.

Tennessee scored two in the final frame to make the end score an 8-3 UAB win. Aaron Roe played in goal, facing forty-one shots and saving thirty-eight of them for a 0.93 save percentage, turning in another solid night of net-minding to sweep the hometown Ice Vols.

Dickinson, Gaskins, Martin, and Schilling all earned assists during the game.

The Blazers (6-2) will face the University of Alabama, Huntsville next, in Huntsville on October 26th and the 27th. Follow along on the team’s website http://uabhockeyclub.com for all of the latest news and coverage of your UAB Men’s Ice Hockey team.

 

Blazers Victorious, Outlast Auburn 5-3 in Columbus

By: Reed Gossard

Birmingham, your hometown hockey team is just one win away from winning the season series against their vaunted in-state rival, the Auburn Tigers.

The first act of three for the season between the Blazers and the Tigers was a heavy, hard-fought game, but the boys in green kept their heads through a tough 2nd period and came out on top 5-3 on a gorgeous night for hockey in Columbus, Georgia.

Hornsby opened up the scoring for both teams with a close wrist-shot in the first few minutes of the game, but Auburn scored twice even though UAB controlled the puck for most of the period, and went into the locker room up 2-1 against the Blazers at the end of the first period.

Then, after a grueling second period that featured another solid penalty kill by the Blazers and some impressive saves from goalie Aaron Roe nearly came to an end, Phil Zbell netted the equalizer with five seconds to go before the buzzer.

Auburn scored nearly immediately to start the third, but then Hornsby scored his second goal to tie and Phil netted his second to go up 4-3 with eleven minutes left in the period. Cam Dickinson then scored a wacky, blooper real full ice goal on an Auburn empty net as the buzzer sounded to make it 5-3.

Hornsby, on the win:  “It was a great team win. We really came together and played our first full 60 minute game of the hockey we know we can play. (I’m) Really happy with this win, especially with the rivalry factor of the game.”

The UAB Blazers will play next on October 5th, against the University of Georgia.

Can’t make it to the game? Follow the team on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or here at http://uabhockeyclub.com.

 

Weekend Recap: Blazers Go 1-1 in ATL, Improve to 3-1 on Season

By: Reed Gossard

Sometimes, when all you want is a nice two scoop waffle cone, life gives you a banana split.

The UAB Blazers lost Friday night 5-2 to a deep Georgia Tech team, and then rebounded  Saturday evening to dominate Lynn University 6-2 to draw even on the weekend as they head home to face Auburn next week.

After the loss to Georgia Tech, the Blazers kept their heads in a very physical game with Lynn University. Dickinson, Zbell, Hornsby, Fulgenzi, Cordeau, and Schilling all scored a goal each, while Gasparek, Gaskins, Phil and Matt Zbell all tallied assists.

There were seventy-four combined penalty minutes played for both teams, a staggering amount. In games where players are spending extended minutes in the penalty box, a solid penalty kill is crucial to winning the game.

Yves Cordeau, on how to execute when the other team is a man up on the ice: “Defending a penalty kill is all about discipline. You have to keep your head on a swivel and your feet moving constantly in order to always be in the right position. It’s emotional, too. Getting in the way of a slapshot is nerve-racking but the feeling of icing the puck after a good block gives a sense of relief right up until they start charging at you again.”

Aaron Roe was stout in the net as well, highlighted by an athletic kick save. Asked about it, his response was, “The guy was coming down my left wing and he was trying to do this move that they’d been doing all game, where they pull the puck across the crease and try to tuck it in back door. I read it as he was coming down and tried to poke check it but I missed. I knew I had to get over as quick as I could so I tried to kick my right leg out as fast as I could to save it. And then my defense cleared it out. Had my defense not been in position, that would have been a goal.”

UAB plays Auburn this weekend in what should be a hard-hitting, barn-stormer of a game this Friday night in Columbus, Georgia.

Zbell, Dickinson and Roe Terrorize Tennessee as Blazers Blank Ice Vols 10-0

By:  Reed Gossard

A night after Jakob Hornsby claimed UAB’s first hat trick of the season, two other Blazers decided to get in on the fun in rollicking fashion.

Cam Dickinson and Phil Zbell proved to be too much for Tennessee as the Blazers took the weekend series with a dominant 10-0 win. Dickinson scored five goals, Zbell added four and both tallied two assists, respectively.

Their chemistry was evident from the first puck drop , and both players acknowledged that the team as a whole was quickly melding into a well-oiled machine.

Dickinson, on how the team played: “The three lines we are running are really working well together and you could see the first line step up the night before (when UAB won 8-3), when the second (line) was getting chances and couldn’t put the puck in the back of the net, and the narrative was the opposite tonight. The lines are really clicking and teams should watch out for all three of them as they prepare for us.”

On the other end of the ice, goalie Aaron Roe was a brick wall as he threw up a doughnut on the scoreboard, holding the Volunteers scoreless until two minutes left in the third, when he was pulled to give the back up some valuable ice time.

After a pedestrian first period, with the Blazers up 1-0 on the Volunteers, the team kicked it into high gear and tallied six goals in a statement second act, propelled by Dickinson and Zbell scoring two goals within a minute to make it 3-0.

Feeding off of a stellar three man penalty kill, the floodgates opened and the buzzer sounded to end the period with UAB up 7-0.

Adil Patel scored one goal on a routine deflection play in the front of the net midway through the third. Matt Zbell, Dillon Gasparek and Jakob Hornsby chipped in assists in the 10-0 win.

Phil Zbell on the sweep and the atmosphere surrounding the team as they look forward to next weekend: “The chemistry just clicked. There was a positive energy on the bench for both games and the boys really became a team this weekend.”

The Blazers will travel into Georgia next weekend to face Georgia Tech and Lynn University. Game recaps will be posted on the team’s website, http://uabhockeyclub.com, and on the team’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages.

Full Speed Ahead as Blazers Smoke Vols in Season Opener

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.