SPRINGDALE, Ark- The Arkansas Razorbacks (2-3-0) are set to take on the Auburn Tigers (1-2-0) this weekend to open up conference play.
The Tigers visit Arkansas after splitting the series with Florida State last weekend. The Razorbacks, meanwhile, are looking to bounce back after losing both games against the Lindenwood Lions.
Last year, the Hogs easily handled the Tigers in Auburn’s inaugural season by the scores of 12-0 and 10-1.
“Obviously we’ll have some jitters,” said Razorbacks Coach Brian Gallini. “Starting out the conference season is always a challenge. We expect [Auburn] to come out strong and make a push. So, our goal is to push back in that first 10 minutes and establish ourselves and then try to turn it up from there.”
Arkansas won its second straight SECHC title last season and know that teams are out to get them.
“We expect that teams are coming for us,” Gallini said. “With back-to-back titles, obviously we have a target on our back. Our goal is to stay on top, and I think if we play our style of hockey in all 3 zones for 60 minutes, we’ll be just fine.”
Last year the Tide finished with a record of 16-8-1, placing them second in the West behind Arkansas.
“Alabama will be our biggest challenge this year,” added Gallini. “We have a rivalry with them that dates back to the beginning of this program’s history, but it will just take time to figure out who’s where in the conference this year.”
Gallini is very happy with how his third-year players, such as goaltender Brendan Desjardins, are handling this season by pushing the team on and off the ice in their goal of winning a third straight conference championship.
The Razorbacks will start their defense of the SECHC title Friday night at 7:30 pm against the Auburn Tigers at the Jones Center for Families in Springdale, Arkansas. Tickets are $6 for adults, $2 for students, and free for children under 10!