Photo courtesy UTEP Hockey Club/Facebook
After downing ETBU 7-1 in the semi-finals Friday night, the UTEP Miner Hockey squad manhandled the Texas A&M Aggies in the TCHC Championship game Saturday, 8-1.
Four minutes into the first, Jayden Ritchie fed Carlo Wittor who shot and scored off the deflection of Aggie goalie Reynolds glove, putting the Miners on the board for the first goal of the game.
The Miners kept pushing as Reynolds can’t grab the loose puck and Fabian Perez gets it passed him to increase the lead to 2-0.
As the puck dropped for the second period, Austin Simpson made his mark on the championship game, scoring a power-play goal on a one-timer making the game 3-0, 7:44 into the period.
On the penalty kill, Kevin Duncan fed it to Carlo Wittor, who then fed Austin Simpson which was redirected by the Aggies. On the redirect A&M sent the puck past the line and the Miners got their fourth goal of the game.
Then, with just over two minutes remaining in the period, Matt Sanca beat Aggie goalie Reynolds on the rebound, scoring the Miners second power-play goal of the game, giving the Miners a 5-0 lead at the buzzer.
Heading to the final stanza, the Aggies came out trying to cut the deficit but Miner goalie Angus Campbell – making his second start in two days — would hold tight.
To drive the point home, UTEP’s Dominik Taras scored off a feed from Matt Sanca, pushing the Miners lead to 6-0, 4:45 into the final frame.
Texas A&M finally got on the board, as Kyle Mills beat Duncan and Campbell to the back of the net. UTEP came right back as Austin Simpson found Dominic Foggia open near the faceoff zone, feeding him a pass and allowing Foggia to score, giving the Miners a 7-1 lead.
With just under four minutes to go in the third, Prystayko takes Campbell’s place in net for the Miners. Then the Aggies are called for too many men on the ice and the Miners use the man advantage as Pablo Duarte scored the Ice Miners final point.
With the win, the Miners snag their second TCHC Championship in three years. The championship game win also gives the Miners an automatic bid to the ACHA Western Regional Tournament, February 28-March 2 in Tempe, Arizona.