The first period of the University of Montana club hockey team’s 7-2 loss against Montana State on Oct. 16 started as you’d expect any Griz vs. Cats game to start: loud and aggressive.
MSU’s players seemed extra excited for the matchup after Montana’s 5-4 comeback win just a night earlier on Oct. 15.
The lack of bleacher seating in the “ice barn” in Bozeman forced loud rows of Cats fans to crowd around the glass. The fans weren’t the only ones up against the glass, though, as players from both teams were checked and shoved into the walls.
The puck was also slammed against the barrier, even going up and over the glass and into the crowd at times due to the lack of netting around the rink to catch it.
Punches were thrown, penalties dished out and timeouts served in the penalty box often.
Ultimately, MSU got the better of the game, putting up seven goals.
The first period started off seemingly equally matched, but then Montana State began to take over. MSU scored its first goal with around 5 minutes left in the first period. Two more Cats goals were scored at the 43 second and 8 second mark. Montana was outshot 15-7 by Montana State in the first period.
Montana came out early in the second period looking like a much better team offensively, but this didn’t last. The Bobcats scored early in the second to put them up 4-0. MSU dominated possession of the puck, at one point even playing with an open net.
The second period wasn’t any less aggressive, with Griz player Axl Cluphf, being ejected. Montana State outshot the Griz 19-8. Thanks to two MSU goals, the Cats led 6-0 after two periods.
Period three didn’t get much better for UM. A series of sloppy passes and turnovers led to an MSU goal with 16:32 left in the game. A Griz goal by Ty Dittman, took away the Cats’ shutout less than a minute later to narrow the deficit to 7-1. Montana’s Jackson Knudtsen scored another goal the next minute to give UM its second score of the game.
The Griz outshot the Cats 15-5 in the final period, but that wasn’t enough to bring the team back from the damage of the first two periods. The final score settled at 7-2.
The Griz are back at Glacier Ice Rink on Friday, Oct. 22nd.