A&M Hockey returned to the Central Standard time zone this weekend after the long trek to El Paso the previous weekend. The Aggies faced off against the TCHC South Division rival Bobcats of Texas State in a home-and-home series that saw the teams face-off on Friday in Austin and Sunday in College Station. The squads previously met three weeks ago, where the Aggies won both games by a combined score of 20-5.
On Friday, the teams did battle at The Pond Hockey Club in Austin and in the first, Texas State capitalized first on the power-play, but a quick response would come 3 minutes later form the Aggie power-play courtesy of Garrett Finn. The Aggies would put up 26 shots on goal in the first period, but the score remained 1-1 into intermission. The second period again saw the Bobcats capitalize first, but the top line of Aggie forwards would come through as Mark Oswald and Huston Svondrk both would score beautiful, gritty goals to have A&M leading 3-2 going into the final 20 minutes. Before things were said and done, Nick Early would add another goal and Brydon Gillilan would display some first-rate goaltending as the Aggies killed off penalties for the final seven minutes of the game and took home the win, 4-2.
Sunday morning, A&M returned to the comfort of Spirit Ice Arena, where they were 5-0 with a 41-4 advantage in goals. Second verse proved to be same as the first as the Aggies gave up another early power-play goal to the Bobcats. Midway through the period, the Aggies would put to rest any thoughts of a shutout as Nick Early and Brandon Steele would both collect goals off of good build-up play, but the Aggies wouldn’t close out the period smoothly as Texas State scored as the buzzer rang and the teams headed to the locker room tied at 2. The teams would not stay knotted at 2 for long, as goals from Colin Butler and Gary Russell in the first minute of the second period woke up the A&M offense. Russell would then add another goal short-handed on an absolute corner-picker from the right circle to make it 5-2. The Aggies again would have trouble closing out the period ad Texas State would score two more and make it a 5-4 game heading into the final period of the season for this match-up. Gary Russell would continue his red-hot scoring streak with his team-leading 18th of the season and his 16th in the past 7 games. This goal would also complete his third hat trick of the year and 5th multi-goal game. The Aggie defense would lock it down for the rest of the way with two insurance goals coming from Garrett Finn and Michael O’Reilly. Christian Westerberg made 15 saves in the win.
The Aggies will again have an Austin/College Station 2-game weekend upcoming as they take on the University of Texas-Austin Longhorns. Puck will drop at Spirit Ice Arena in College Station on Friday at 7:30 PM.