This time around, the road was not kind to the Sooners. The Sooners had only lost two of their previous 11 games on the road (Iowa State and Lindenwood). The Illini took both games over the weekend, defeating OU 4-2 and 5-4.
Friday: Sooners loss, 4-2
It’s hard to say if the Sooners struggle had anything to do with not having their leading scorers on the ice, but Illinois was also without their starting goaltender. The Illini took a 2-0 lead in the first, OU’s Tyler Jones making his appearance at 15:09 to put the Sooners on the board. The second period didn’t see any goals scored on either side of the ice. Illinois’s Eric Cruikshank put two more in, in the third, extending their lead. Cruikshank later in the third took an unsportsmanlike penalty, awarding OU’s Corey Ramsey a penalty shot, his first of his career. Ramsey made the goal, but it couldn’t get the Sooners past the goal slump. Goaltender Colin Fernandes made 25 stops in the loss.
Saturday: Sooners loss, 5-4
The Sooners lost a heartbreaker on Saturday night in a close battle. Darrel Boldon put OU on the board first, early in the first period. Illinois owned the second period, getting their first goal just 13 seconds into the start of the period by Jonathan Langan. OU and Illinois would go back and forth in the third period with the goals, the first being netted by OU’s Mason Miller. Illinois netted two power play goals, one being the eventual game winner. Brandon Dennis and Tyler Jones also helped in the comeback but the Sooners came up one goal short. Both Fernandes and the Illini’s Grumet-Morris stopped 17 shots on goal.
The Sooners will be again on the road, this time headed to Athens, OH for a two game stint with Ohio University Friday the 6th and Saturday the 7th.
The World University Games also kicks off this week. The first competition games start on Tuesday Feb. 3rd, the USA team starts their tournament on Thursday the 5th against Japan. Check out the full USA hockey schedule below:
Select games will be broadcast on CBS Sports, as well as some on an online feed. Check out the broadcast schedule here: