At Augustana’s inaugural home game on Oct. 14, the Vikings hockey team celebrated a night of firsts, skating to a 3-2 win against Bowling Green State University.
The Vikings’ first victory on Sioux Falls ice marks head hockey coach Garrett Raboin’s first win as a head coach and the Augustana hockey program’s first win.
“Outstanding day for our guys,” Raboin said. “I’m excited for them to feel a victory. A huge day for our university, obviously, and our men’s hockey program.”
The Vikings secured 41 shots on goal throughout the game, with graduate student goaltender Zack Rose saving 25 of Bowling Green’s 27 shots on goal. Rose played with Bowling Green from 2019-2023 before joining the Vikings this past summer.
“I’m glad to see him having success and glad to see him back playing and doing well,” Bowling Green head coach Ty Eigner said. “Obviously, tonight we would have preferred him not do it against us, but it’s great for him… He’s a great, great young man, and we’re happy for Zack.”
Game action kicked off with graduate student forward Arnaud Vachon taking the puck in the first face-off. Within the next two minutes, the Vikings made five shots straight but didn’t secure a goal.
As the Vikings entered their first power play, senior defenseman Evan McIntyre received a two-minute penalty for slashing. However, this didn’t slow the Vikings' momentum.
Vachon hustled the puck across the rink to make a shot, but Bowling Green goaltender Christian Stoever locked it out with a save. Freshman forward Hunter Bischoff quickly rebounded the puck into the back of the net, putting an end to the fight for the first goal of the game.
“It felt really good to get [the first goal] at home,” Bischoff said. “The crowd was great, and I just can't be more excited to get going here.”
Bischoff was the first player to join the Vikings’ roster in 2022, and he now holds the title for scoring the program’s first goal.
Raboin said the Vikings worked well together at placing the puck in the net.
“Coach [Taylor] Nelson, I think, said it during the week of practice: you got to value the puck,” Raboin said. “The puck is gold. It’s so hard to get the darn thing, when you have it, you have to keep it. And our guys did a better job of putting pucks in areas where teammates could get to them.”
Entering the second period of the game, the teams volleyed for dominance of the rink, with neither team making a goal.
However, the Vikings kept the Bowling Green’s defense busy, making 15 shots on goal to Bowling Green’s five.
“Puck possession was the thing that I thought our guys were much improved on,” Raboin said. “They were able to hold on to it for three to five seconds, cause other teams to defend a little longer and had some shots from good areas.”
The Vikings held their 1-0 lead for forty minutes of play before earning the second goal of the game in the third period.
Bowling Green’s forward Brett Pfoh headed to the penalty box to serve two minutes for tripping, and the Vikings took advantage of their power play.
Forwards junior Jack Jensen and graduate student Chase Brand made the assist to graduate student Ryan Naumovski, who skated past Bowling Green defense to sink the puck into the back of the net.
The Vikings lead didn’t last for long, though, as Bowling Green soon tied up the score.
Within eight minutes, Bowling Green secured six face offs, made six shots and scored two goals.
While Bowling Green moved fast to make up points, Raboin said his team was quick to react to its opponent’s change in pace.
“It happened fast. These guys went on the ice and responded quickly,” Raboin said. “I saw the puck go in for the tying goal and was obviously disappointed that we put ourselves in that situation, but these guys responded quick — got right back on the horse.”
Fourteen seconds after Bowling Green tied the score, Vachon shot the puck past Stoever’s shoulder to clinch the Augustana hockey program’s first win.
“We're at a place now where people are putting a lot of trust in us,” Vachon said. “They put a program here, and people are supporting us, and we feel it. We're trying to give back with our effort.”
Bischoff said he is excited to be a part of the program’s first win and is looking forward to the rest of the season.
“I’ve known Raboin a long time, and he deserves it more than anyone,” Bischoff said. “I think that just going forward we're going to keep pushing towards positivity and just keep getting after it.”
The Vikings will take on Bowling Green again on Sunday, Oct. 15 at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center. The puck is set to drop at 5:07 p.m.
“We had an opportunity to respond to a loss last weekend at Wisconsin on a Sunday,” Raboin said. “Now we have the opportunity to respond to a win on a Sunday. How do we handle it? That’s our challenge.”