Sophomore goaltender Blake Chapman stood tall in net, but the trophy he and his Missouri teammates claimed with a 5-2 win against Kansas in a club hockey showdown at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena in Independence stood even taller.
“Oh, it’s (the trophy) probably a foot taller than me,” said Chapman, who made 28 saves for the Tigers. “That was awesome. I’m not sure where it’s staying yet, maybe at our home rink in Jeff City, but I think some of the guys wanted to show it around school a little bit.”
The newest Border War trophy might be in for the Stanley Cup treatment.
“Hopefully, a little less than that,” Chapman said.
Missouri scored two goals 23 seconds apart early in the third period as the floodgates burst open with a four-goal flurry that turned a nail-biter into a rout before a crowd of roughly 3,000.
The Tigers and Jayhawks hadn’t squared off on the ice since 2012 and entered the third period tied at 1-1, but it didn’t remain that way for long.
Defenseman Brendan Wilson restored Missouri’s lead off a triple-assist at the 17:01 mark. Nick Brocksmith, Vince Moschea and Matt Royer all were credited with helping set up the go-ahead goal.
At the 16:38 mark, the Tigers pumped up their advantage to two goals on a wrister from the left slot by defenseman Ryan Basgall, which proved to be the game-winner.
It was academic from there, but Missouri wasn’t done.
Wilson added his second goal at the 14:25 mark off assists from Cory Cannon and Jack Cassidy.
Only 49 seconds later, Basgall struck again for an insurmountable four-goal lead. Chase Lutz and Cassidy were credited with the assists.
“We knew we had 20 more minutes left,” Cannon said. “A lot of guys had 20 minutes left in their hockey careers, so we were ready. We were a little tight, but we were ready to go (in the third period).”
Mizzou beat Kansas twice in September and twice again in January, outscoring the Jayhawks 38-12 in the process, but it wasn’t nearly as easy for the Tigers this time.
“They’re a good team,” Cannon said. “They improved. Every time we played them, they got better. Some of the scores don’t always reflect the way the game’s played.”
Kansas pulled back a goal with 9:09 remaining when Ryan Petterson slipped the puck past Chapman off assists from Brad Glass and Sam Weinstein, but it that’s as much of a comeback as was mounted.
“They scored on their chances,” said Miles Manson, a KU freshman forward from Kansas City, Kan. “That’s where we lost the game. We didn’t score on ours and they scored on theirs.”
The Tigers and Jayhawks got into a few scrapes during a feisty second period, including a fight between Cannon and Chase Pruitt that drew multiple penalties.
“It was more than a usual game, but the rivalry between us and Mizzou is always going to be chippy,” said Pruitt, a senior from Wichita Southeast.
There was another dustup shortly after Mizzou’s fourth goal in the third period, but things settled down from there.
The Tigers drew first blood when Cannon scored on the power play at the 11:11 mark in the first period. His rocket from the slot was assisted by Christian Hoffmeister and Ryan Hodges.
Kansas defenseman Charlie Whitelaw’s hooking penalty set up the opportunity.
The Jayhawks pulled even in the second period on Dan Superina’s goal with 8:44 remaining. He was assisted by Logan Haverstrom.
It was a much better showing than the 2012 meeting when Missouri rolled 14-3.
“I played in it four years ago, and we just got killed,” Pruitt said. “Our hockey team really wasn’t much of a team. Coming back this year and having a team that could compete was a lot more fun.”
Cooper Johnston made 32 saves in net for KU, but it wasn’t enough.
“It’s fun to go out on top,” said Cannon, a senior from Clayton, Mo. “It’s always fun to win your last game. … The goal has always been to get this program to a higher level, leave it better than we found it. That’s the most important part for me. The guys next year, they’re going to come in remembering this.”