SPRINGDALE, Ark. – It was a tough game tonight for the Razorbacks as the defending SECHC Tournament champions fell 7-3 to the Oklahoma Sooners (D1) in their season opener. The Razorbacks played their hearts out and didn’t give up till the last whistle blew, getting a true test by scheduling a top-tier program to start the season.
The Sooners finished seventh in the region last season with a record of 29-16-1 and made a trip to the second round of the Division I Tournament.
In the first period the Sooners got off to a quick start with two power-play goals. Defenseman Troy Puente scored a power play goal 2:11 into the game. Following a slashing penalty, the Sooners claimed their second goal of the game.
With only 1:46 left to play in the first period Arkansas forward Johnny Stromp put Razorback Hockey on the board with the Hogs first, to bring them within one.
At the start of the second period the Razorbacks came out with the momentum of a late-period goal. However, Oklahoma had an answer and added two goals to take a 4-1 lead into the final frame.
Early in the third period Johnny Stromp scored his second goal of the game for the Razorbacks, but it didn’t take long for Oklahoma to answer. Kevin Zehnder netted his second goal of the game, putting the Sooners ahead 5 goals to 2.
Forest Mudgett scored a power-play goal nine minutes into the third period. However, it was Zehnder’s night as he netted a hat trick, giving the Sooners an eventual 7-3 win.
A 7-3 loss is nothing easy for any team to handle, but Arkansas got the chance to play against a top-tier Division I school to prepare for the upcoming season ahead as they look to claim their third straight conference championship.