One tough loss led to a big win for Alabama hockey

Savannah Prefontaine, Contributing Writer

Alabama’s American Collegiate Hockey Association Division I hockey team faced off against the West Virginia Mountaineers in a series this past weekend at the Pelham Civic Complex, and the Frozen Tide was able to pull through with an 8-4 win Saturday evening after a tough loss on Friday, in which the Mountaineers won 4-2. 

Game 1 

Sophomore goaltender Joe Hughes started off the first period for the Frozen Tide allowing no goals in the net, while the Mountaineers didn’t allow any shots on goal to pass the goal line either.  

West Virginia scored on Hughes during the second period, putting them up by one against Alabama.  

During the second period, senior forward Erick Reiniger pulled through with an assist to senior forward Tyler Trombly, allowing them to catch up with West Virginia to make it 1-1 on the scoreboard.  

With 12:55 left in the third period, West Virginia had the opportunity to shoot on the net and score on Hughes, leaving the score 2-1.  

Senior forward Quinn Fahey was able to score on West Virginia during the third period, leaving the two teams tied 2-2. 

With 4:16 seconds left in the game, West Virginia scored a goal once again to take the late lead. 

Alabama emptied the net, allowing West Virginia to score another goal, ending the game with a score of 4-2. 

“We took West Virginia for granted,” captain Will Zeek said. “It was their first game, and we played down to their level.” 

“What you’re seeing on the ice is all about development, no matter what age group the players are in,” head coach Phil Tesoriero said. 

Tesoriero played professional hockey in the Southern Professional Hockey League and Canadian Hockey League for numerous years before becoming a coach of Alabama’s DIII ACHA team in 2019, before they became DI. 

Game 2 

The Frozen Tide returned to the Pelham Civic Complex on Saturday evening for the second game of the series against West Virginia and was able to show the Mountaineers the skills it didn’t play with the night before. 

“We just needed a little more jump and physicality,” Zeek said.  

“We don’t play your typical college hockey,” Tesoriero said. “I try and teach them what I learned and what was successful playing at the professional level. Being able to watch these guys that play for me develop has been something very important to me.” 

Alabama learned from their mistakes Friday evening and got on the ice Saturday evening to play better than the night before. 

Ten minutes into the first period, senior defenseman Brian Seybold assisted junior forward Greg Simmons, allowing him to shoot and score.  

Freshman forward Max Eckstein also scored within the first 10 minutes of the first period.  

West Virginia scored their first goal on senior goalie, Elijah Gibbons with one minute left in the first period. 

At the start of the second period, West Virginia was able to score two goals on Gibbons, giving the Mountaineers a 3-2 lead. 

Alabama’s forwards and defensemen worked together incredibly in each line during the second period, which allowed Alabama to score four times on West Virginia during the second period. 

Senior defenseman Caelan Briere and junior forward Greg Simmons both scored one goal during the second period, while Chandler Bilodeau was able to score two, pushing the lead to 6-3. 

“We played with a lot more focus and team effort on Saturday compared to Friday,” Zeek said. “We took their time and space and played better defensively.” 

The Frozen Tide went into Saturday’s game with the mindset that they were going to play how they were supposed to play the previous night. 

Alabama’s Divison I team will face off against the University’s rival, Auburn, next Friday, Sept. 23, at The Pelham Civic Complex. The puck will drop at 7 p.m. CT.  

Streaming is available and provided by Black Dog Hockey for each home and away game. Click this link to access the Alabama live broadcast schedule and subscribe to stream games.

Questions or comments? Email Austin Hannon (Sports Editor) at [email protected]