Tensions rose high for the first home game of the season, coming off a loss to Xavier away the previous night. The Tigers took to the ice strong in their second game versus Xavier, claiming the puck immediately, but struggling, however, to keep up in the first period. Ben Allen, sophomore goalie, let in five, yet had a countless number of saves. Eleven minutes in the game shifted to a four on four, while each team had a player in the penalty box. Allen made two incredible saves in the last minute of the first period, staving off another Xavier score.
The second period was significantly stronger than the first. The only thing cleaner than senior defenseman Shane Heartlaub’s, skating was his passes. A speedy shot by Andrew Krall, junior defenseman, was made, but was deflected.
Luck changed for the Tigers after a three on five power play. The Tigers scored with 11:55 left in the period with a shot executed by Hartlaub, and assisted by David Like, senior center, bringing the score to 1-5.
The most tension arose when a penalty was called against Xavier for tripping Kenyon Rizzo, sophomore winger, prompting an on ice confrontation between the two, which was quickly thwarted by the referees. This was followed by several shots on goal made by Like, but were blocked by Xavier’s goaltender. Heartlaub followed these shots with a Hail Mary slap shot with 28.6 seconds left in the period, which was deflected.
The third period brought harder checks and faster skating which resulted in another score for Xavier. Allen fended off many speedy shots while keeping composure.
All in all the Tigers fell 1-7, but the team “is stronger than ever,” according to coach Adam Frantz.
“A lot of our returning guys worked hard and sacrificed over the summer, that’s going to pay off big time,” said Frantz. “We are bigger, faster, and stronger than last year.
“The other teams in our league have also gotten better, so we are going to prepare for each game and give them all we’ve got,” continued Frantz. “Fans can expect to see us battling hard along the boards to come up with the 50/50 pucks.”
Team president Alex Beebe believes it will be a great season too.
“Although we had a rough start to the season, I believe we will bounce back and continue our tradition of winning seasons,” said Beebe.
Krall agrees, “Fans can look forward to intense hockey and some wins for Wittenberg.”
Coach Frantz has a few players that fans should watch for this season.
“Andrew Krall is always up to something and usually finds his way into the mix no matter what’s happening on the ice,” said Frantz. “We are counting on [Kenyon Rizzo] to move bodies out of the way for our Tiger offense. He’s also our official team enforcer.
Frantz also stated that Ben Allen “is showing up big in front of our net” and David Like should again be the “most productive points producer.”
Frantz was quick to add, “there’s a whole bunch of guys that will be right there with him… Every guy on the team is looking forward to representing the Tigers this season, and we hope to see you at all of our games.”
“I love our team because we are a good group of guys who are determined to do our best all the time,” said Krall.
Make sure to come out and see the Tigers at their next home game on Oct. 17 at The Chiller; puck drops at 8:45 p.m. Coach Frantz invites all Wittenberg students who would like to play Hockey to contact him or any of the team members.