UNM Lobo hockey defeated the Colorado Mesa University Mavericks Friday night in a very physical game, one in which New Mexico seemed to dictate the pace on pretty much from the start.
New Mexico (5-0) appeared to want to play at a high tempo and brought a lot of intensity against Colorado Mesa. The energy was high in the first period as the Lobos scored back-to-back goals to seize early control of the game.
The first goal came from New Mexico left wing AJ Goff and his teammate, Triton Nelson followed that score with another shortly thereafter to make the score 2-0. The Mavericks were held in check, as the score held and UNM took that same lead into the second period.
Both teams came out of the locker room aggressive at the beginning of the second. Play got really physical, with opponents from both sides being checked hard into the boards—much to the delight of the crowd.
New Mexico and Colorado Mesa fought hard to control the puck, but it was the Lobos that got the better end of the exchanges. Team captain Austin Short was able to put another shot past the goalie to put UNM up 3-0 on the night.
Colorado Mesa answered with a score of its own to cut the deficit to 3-1 about nine and a half minutes into the period, but UNM defenseman Mackenzie Smith managed to notch another score and push the margin back to three and make it 4-1 entering the final period.
About one minute into third period, Graeme Chiasson appeared to deliver the knockout punch to Colorado Mesa. The Lobos maintained the 5-1 lead for much of the third period until the Mavericks finally broke through with their second goal of the night to make it 5-2, which ended up being the final.
Despite the last goal, New Mexico played a strong defensive game, particularly the ability of goalie Antonio Santiago to keep the puck out of the net.
Head coach Grant Harvey seemed to want a stronger challenge saying he expected a stronger performance from their opponent. He said his team would be ready again on Saturday.
“I think our guys are going to come the same way we played tonight,” Harvey said. “I think we’re going to play a physical game and it will help them get the win and get the other team worn out the way they did tonight. “
The Lobos have shown great scoring ability so far this season and, although the team found the back of the net five teams, it was actually one of the team’s lower scoring outputs. UNM and Colorado Mesa will be back on the ice Saturday, Oct. 14 at 8 p.m. as the Lobos try to protect home ice and their undefeated record.
Alanie Rael is a freelance sports reporter for the Daily Lobo. She primarily covers men's and women's skiing, but also contributes content for football and hockey. She can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @AllyRael.