SPRINGFIELD, MO — The Division I Missouri State University Bears (ranked 24 in the country) earned six points in their home-stand against Augustana, Colorado – Boulder, and Colorado State.
In the first game of the 2016-2017 campaign, the Bears were able to rack up seven goals while allowing zero to start the season off with a win. In the second game, more dominance occurred with the Bears scoring 11 goals and once again allowing zero. Senior goalie, Joey MacConnell, stopped all 36 shots on the weekend giving him an early lead in the stats category of the ACHA. Junior, Alex Turin, also added his own flare to Saturday night’s contest with one of the best highlight reel goals you will ever see. You can check out the goal at http://www2.tsn.ca/bardown/Story.aspx?Young%2bhockey%2bplayer%2babsolutely%2bembarrasses%2bhis%2bopponents%2bwith%2ba%2bfantastic%2bgoal&id=589247
The weekend against Augustana was the first chance for Bears fans to get a look at the deep 2016 recruiting class that features 13 new players from all over North America and Europe. â€œHonestly, it (the weekend) was fantastic,â€ Ice Bears head coach Bob Bucher said. â€œWe were able to get all of the young guys into the system, get rid of the butterflies and get ready to play.â€
Thursday night, the #10 ranked Colorado Buffalo entered the confines of Mediacom Ice Park. The Bears killed of quite a few penalties but had a lapse for about 5 minuets in the first period where the Bears quickly gave up 4 goals. That would enough to earn the win on road ice for CU as the Buffalo’s took the WCHL opener by a score of 9-2.
The Bears were able to awaken from hibernation for a big bounce back win vs Colorado State on Friday night. Missouri State was able to score early and often defeating the Rams by a scored of 8-1.
In the series finale, the story of the game was Freshman goaltender, Brady Griffin, and some of the unfortunate bounces late in the third period. Griffin quickly battled back after allowing a goal just 15 seconds into the 1st period by making 41 saves the rest of the night. The Rams didn’t hold onto the 1-0 lead long as Freshman forward, Zane O’Bryan scored his first career collegiate goal to tie the score at 1. Not long after that, Junior defenseman Brennan Anderson added another tally as the Bears took a 2-1 lead going into the second period.
The score remained knotted at 2 before the Rams scored a Power Play goal to take the lead with three and half minuets left.
Colorado State held onto the lead late in the third period when the reigning WCHL Rookie of the Year, Marshall Gevers, streaked down the far side boards on a breakaway only to be stopped by the referee who happened to get accidentally got into the lane that Gevers was skating in. Two minuets later, Colorado State would score the game winning goal after a scramble in front of goaltender, Brady Griffin.
Missouri state went 3-2 in their home stand to start the 2016-2017 season. â€œYou always wanna win in your own barn but itâ€™s the nature of the league we play in,â€ said Bucher. â€œWhen youâ€™re playing in a league that traditionally carries five or six teams out of eight going to a national tournament, itâ€™s anybodyâ€™s game on any given night.â€
â€œIt was an awesome experience. This is a fun place to play, good team to play with,â€ Griffin said of his first game. â€œItâ€™s a good feeling. Iâ€™m excited for the next four years for sure.â€
The #24 Bears will travel to Ames, Iowa for their first road test of the season as they battle the 2016 National Champion Runner Up, Iowa State Cyclones on September 23 and 24.