The Redbirds travelled to Wilmette to take on the Loyola Ramblers. Game one Friday night found a greatly improved Loyola squad take to the ice for warm-ups. “Loyola was in poor shape two years ago”. “They have made significant gains in the quality of their program on the ice and off ice with the change in coaching staff and the student leadership which has really stepped up this year”, according to Coach Corley of the Birds.
First year player James Andreoni began the scoring for the Redbirds on his first shift of the game, assisted by Phil O’Connor. The Dinschel line continued to dominate the rest of the period scoring twice more. Phil O’Connor scored assisted by Michael Prentice and then with under a minute to go in the period, O’Connor walked out from the far corner to freeze Loyola netminder Adam Sabh and lite the lamp again.
Ten penalties turned the second period into a special teams tag team event with the Redbirds managing to win the period 3 to 2, taking a 6 to 2 lead into the locker room. Timmy Putlak continued his productive year scoring with the help of his center Drew Flack. Flack was in his first game as a Redbird after being called up from the IceBirds. Mike McKeague was the finisher for his power play unit for two goals. The second goal came on a picture perfect cross ice pass from Andrew Jesernig to create the back door one-timer.
Chris Drinkwater scored the lone goal of the third period, helped by Eric Brown and Steve Hong to finish the 7 to 3 win. Chris Moore stopped all 9 shots he faced in the first period. Steve Somerfield came in to finish the game in net, stopping 17 of 20 shots. The Redbirds outshot the Ramblers 37 to 29.
Game Two of the series was for the night owls with a 10:10 PM start time. But the Redbirds can play like owls when needed, crushing Loyola 7 to 1 in the Saturday night contest.
Loyola scored first, placing a shot on the ice through the five hole as Evan Casas got his second start in goal for the Redbirds. Casas would go on to shut-out Loyola for the next 50 minutes of the game, stopping 18 of 19 shots. The Redbirds outshot the Ramblers 45 to 19 in the nightcap.
Steven Hong tied the game at one with just nine seconds remaining in period one assisted by Michael Prentice and Eric Brown. Mike McKeague got the game winner with the only goal of the second period. Phil O’Connor continued his strong weekend with an unassisted goal through his hard work and intensity.
The Jesernig line began to re-emerge in the Friday night game and came fully alive Saturday once again asserting themselves with four of the Redbird’s seven goals. Andrew Jesernig scored twice while Brett Kahanec and Mike McKeague tossed in one goal each.
The Redbirds go to 9 – 1 – 1 on the season while 1 – 1 in the MACHA Gold Division. Next week the Redbirds face Robert Morris – Springfield in a Gold Division match-up on Sunday and then the War-On -74 reignites with the Bradley Braves coming to the U.S. Cellular Coliseum Tuesday night for an 8:15 puck-drop. All season ticket holders with the IHL’s Prairie Thunder received a ticket to the Bradley game in their ticket package.
For Tuesday night's game, free shuttle buses will run from Waterson to the Bone Student Center to the U.S. Cellular Coliseum beginning at 7:15 PM and returning students to campus after the game.