Despite a late comeback, the TCU men’s ice hockey team suffered their first loss of the season to rival SMU Friday night.
TCU got off to a slow start, surrendering two goals to the Mustangs within three minutes of the opening faceoff.
The Horned Frogs would answer back as the SMU goaltender allowed a shot by TCU forward Arman Azimi to trickle between his legs.
The teams exchanged goals, and the Horned Frogs trailed three goals to two goals at the end of the first period.
The game was a physical one as both teams exchanged hits on each other all night. The scariest moment of the game came when Azimi had to be helped off the ice by teammates after taking a big hit from an SMU defender.
Azimi left with what was believed to be a concussion and was taken to a hospital for further observation, according to TCU coach Mike Caressimo.
Tempers flared to begin the second period, leading to a fight that resulted in the ejection of TCU defenseman Jon Helton and an SMU player.
“It is the third time in a row we’ve played them,” said TCU forward Jake Wallstedt. “It’s building up each game; we’re remembering numbers, we’re remembering faces, we’re starting to look for heads and tempers are just getting high.”
Just 26 seconds after play resumed, TCU defenseman Eric Allen scored to even the game at three goals apiece.
TCU took its first lead of the game an hour after opening faceoff when forward Tommy Buffano scored his second goal of the night.
A flurry of goals throughout the second period made the score seven to five in favor of SMU heading into the second intermission.
SMU struck first when play resumed in the third period to extend their lead to eight goals to five goals.
After nearly ten minutes had ticked off the clock, TCU team captain Michael Papes netted his only goal of the night.
30 seconds later Wallstedt scored his first goal to bring the score within one, and then minutes later tied the game with his second goal.
“I just didn’t want to lose,” Wallstedt said. “I had no doubt we were going to win that game. I wasn’t going to let us lose, and our boys weren’t going to let us lose.”
As the teams denied each other over the final three and a half minutes, the game appeared to be headed for overtime, but SMU scored with only six seconds left on the clock.
TCU won the ensuing faceoff, but Buffano’s final shot attempt came after time expired.
“It was a tough game; it was a sloppy game; it was a game we should have won,” said Caressimo. “It was a tough game to lose. Especially the way we lost with six seconds left.”
TCU defenseman Michael Authier said that he thought the officiating was a large factor in the outcome of the game.
“The refs started to get in our heads a little bit,” said Authier. “These have been our refs the last two times we have played SMU and they have always made some bad calls.”
Authier said that he did not want to blame the game on the refs, but in his mind several calls took TCU out of the swing of the game.
Caressimo agreed with Authier, saying the refereeing was suspect, but the team had to learn to live with it.