In a preliminary look at what is sure to be an intense SEC matchup next season, Middle Tennessee and Vanderbilt squared up for a physical contest Friday night at Ford Ice Center.
The game saw a total of 31 penalty minutes between the two clubs with three power play goals from MTSU. Although Vanderbilt had ample opportunity to take advantage of one less white jersey on the ice, the Commodores went 0-6 with the extra man and went so far as to give up a shorthanded goal to Jake Fink at 6:18 of the third period.
MTSU’s decisive victory is due in large part to the offensive effort of left-wing Nick Kristinus whose four goals and two assists bolstered the Raiders’ onslaught. Other players that played key roles for Middle Tennessee were center Connor Linkowski (2G, 1A) and defenseman Nathanael Wilson (3A). A late tally by Dylan Lee would seal the win for the Raiders.
The Raiders also had a strong defensive backbone from goalie Josh Freidenberger whose 38 saves held the Commodore offense to three goals. Vanderbilt began the first period with high pressure in the MTSU defensive zone resulting in a goal from right wing Jeremy Gross assisted by Brian Armstrong at 8:56. Other goals came in the second and third periods from Daniel Huyler and Kevin Kastholm respectively, but it would not be enough by the final horn.
The two teams will not meet again until the 2019-2020 season as official SECHC opponents. Middle Tennessee’s next chance for a victory at Ford Ice Center will be Sept. 29 when they take on UMass Lowell.