Ella de Jong — Staff Writer
The clock showed one minute remaining. The Dordt Blades trailed Missouri State 1-2. In the stands, students spectated in anticipation as the hockey puck flew across the ice rink. With cheers propelling them, six Blades raced across the ice with only four defenders skating between them and the net. There were two Missouri State players sitting with drawn faces in the penalty as the Blades yelled from their bench in hope of a goal. A gold helmet shot on goal. He missed. In the flurry for the puck, though, the goal was left open on the left. Jonah Weems, a freshman forward, prepared to take advantage of the opportunity. The clock turned to 48 seconds as Jaren Brue, a senior forward, passed the puck to Weems. Weems shot it into the goal with 47 seconds left in the game. Tie game at 2-2.
“Just being able to have the team surround you after a game time deadline and secure a tie at least is an amazing feeling,” Weems said. “I wish I could experience it every time I play.”
The Blades tied against Missouri State in a weekend doubleheader on Saturday, March 13. It was announced as a tie by the ACHA Standings as neither team scored in overtime nor tied in the shootout. They began the doubleheader on Friday, March 12, with a 4-3 win and with intensity going into their Saturday game.
“The momentum we carried in from Friday’s game was instrumental in our time on Saturday because with that came an image that we can play with them and compete with them at a level that we can win,” Weems said.
The first period was scoreless for both teams, but things changed in the second. Weems earned his first goal and Brue his first assist with 15:16 left in the second period. Missouri State retaliated with two goals to put them ahead going into the third.
“I don’t think we were nervous,” Kyle Espenson, a freshman forward, said. “I think because they were seeded above us, we had the mindset of ‘we have nothing to lose,’ like all the pressure was on them.”
Dordt’s power play with Weems’ second goal tied the game and sent it into overtime, which ended scoreless and left Dordt and Missouri State with the last option of a shootout. Espenson was the first Blade to shoot. Students screamed and jumped in the stands as he shot the puck straight past the goalie into the goal.
“I was really relieved because when we were tied 2-2 in overtime, I had a breakaway and I tried to do the same move, but I went to the opposite side and I ended up missing,” Espenson said. “So, I told my coach that I wanted to go again in the shootout and that I would score because I knew that if I faked the other way it would work.”
Espenson was the only Dordt player out of three to score in the shootout.
The penalties racked up by Missouri State is could be attributed to the occurrence of the shootout. Weems scored his second goal to tie the game during a power play when two of the opposing team’s players were sitting inside of the penalty box. Dordt left their goal unattended as they created a six against four opportunity at Missouri State’s goal.
“When you can have the other team go into the box and have that power play advantage, I think that’s huge for the offensive side,” Espenson said.
The Dordt Blades were missing two players for their Saturday game. Collin Price and Logan Visser were both injured on Friday and unable to compete the second day of the doubleheader. They are two of the four defensive players on the team, which led to two offensive players playing defense.
“Having two of our offensive players step up and play D really meant a lot because it shows the leadership of the team,” Weems said.
The Dordt Blades will play their next game on March 19 at 7 pm in the All Seasons Center against Iowa State.