The UNM Lobo hockey team won again on Friday, but was dealt its first loss of the season against Colorado Mesa University on Saturday.
The Lobos and the Mavericks played against each other earlier in the season and the Lobos came out victorious over CMU in both their matchups back in October.
But the first two meetings were in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This time, the Lobos had to travel to Grand Junction, Colorado to face some competition from their opponents.
The weekend match between New Mexico and Colorado Mesa started off promising for the Lobos. UNM defeated the Mavericks by a count of 7-1 in Friday's game, but they couldn’t match the CMU hockey team Saturday night.
The Mavericks flipped the script to defeat the Lobos 6-4 the following day, dropping the UNM hockey team to a record of 10-1-1 on the season.
In Friday's match, the first period ended in a deadlock after both teams notched one goal after 20 minutes of play. The Lobo hockey team managed an extra point in the second period and kept the momentum going into the third as the Mavericks cracked under the pressure the UNM brought onto the ice.
The last period was filled with penalties taken by the Mavericks, giving the Lobos opportunities to score during power play. And by the end of the game, the Lobos dominated Colorado Mesa, 7-1.
Goaltender James Bostian was the stand out player of the game, saving 28 of the 29 shots fired his away. Left wing Austin Short and center Jaxson Farnholtz continued to be high-scoring players for the team.
The Lobos went on to the ice Saturday with the intention of triumphing over CMU yet again, but their undefeated season streak ended in a close game between the teams - both of which were ranked in the top 10 of the Pacific Division.
Entering Saturday’s game, the Lobos seemed to think they knew what to expect from the CMU hockey team. Head coach Grant Harvey said he thought the Mavericks would respond, but mentioned some of the recent trends he has noticed from the opponent.
“I think they will come out fast against us again. I haven’t seen them change up their game plan in three games,” Harvey said. “If they play mad, they become a penalized team and that’s been in our favor all three games.”
The Lobos, ready as they were, fell short by two goals on Saturday. The Mavericks and Lobos played a close game in the first period going into the first intermission tied, 1-1. The Mavericks managed to catch momentum, gaining a lead over UNM, 3-1.
Colorado Mesa added another goal early in the third period to move ahead 4-1, but New Mexico mounted a comeback to pull back with a single goal.
Despite the Lobos exerting effort to get the game back within reach, the Mavericks were able to pull away again—scoring a pair of goals while holding UNM to one down the stretch for the 6-4 victory.
Harvey expressed his dissatisfaction with some of the calls made by referees, especially in the final period, suggesting the decisions may have changed the complexion of the game.
"The refs started to call trivial calls and we succumbed to 6-4," the head coach said. “Most corrupt reffing I have ever witnessed.”
Despite the first loss of the season, Lobos didn’t lose spirit throughout the game and remained energized. The top performer of Saturday's game was turned in by center Jarrod Ronquillo, who had a two-goal night in the loss.
The team will play next in Flagstaff, Arizona against Northern Arizona University—playing two games, with the first starting on Friday, Dec. 8. After getting its first taste of defeat, the team will no doubt have hopes for redemption and ensure the number of losses stays at one. The puck is scheduled to drop at 8 p.m.
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 contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @AllyRael.