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Too cool: Auburn has fun, wins Outback hockey shootout
Dec. 27, 2014

Auburn celebrates its hockey win over Wisconsin at Outback Bowl outing

By Charles Goldberg

TAMPA, Fla.  Move over Nick Marshall, Sammie Coates and Kris Frost.

Wayne Gretzky and Sidney Crosby, you have company.

There are three new stars on ice, at least around Auburn, and at least there were for about three minutes Saturday night at Amalie Arena. That's where Mack VanGorder, Ben Durand and Alex Kviklys beat Wisconsin in a hockey shootout in conjunction with the Jan. 1 Outback Bowl.

Their Auburn teammates, seated in high above in Section 310, cheered as the Tigers on the ice came through. The Tampa Bay Lightning even played the Auburn fight song after the Outback event during their NHL game.

"We've been practicing the last few months, and I think it really showed up on the ice tonight," said Durand, tongue firmly planted in cheek, now as an Auburn hockey star for a night but mainly a walk-on quarterback from Massachusetts, where they actually play hockey.

It was a fun start to the competition between the two schools.

Alas, Durand's hockey practice time might have been somewhat exaggerated.

"I'm from Boston, so I'd say it was probably four years ago," Durand said of his last ice time.

"I played as a kid, but I'd say it's been easily 10 years," VanGorder said.

"Eight years. I've never played hockey. I don't know. I'm from Georgia," Kviklys reasoned.

But they were all smiles before they took the ice, jumped on each other and slid around in celebration when the game was over, and told tall tales when they were finished.

"Keep it simple. Hashtag, shoot," VanGorder said was the gameplan.

"We tried to go Auburn Fast tonight," Durand reasoned. 

Their strategy was based on logic. Or fun. Maybe both. Maybe just fun.

"They chose me to be the lead guy to kick off the game. I am a kicker, so that kind of makes sense," Kviklys said.

"I'm a quarterback, so my job is just to put the ball, er, the puck, where it needs to go," Durand said.

They had VanGorder in the middle.

"Defensively, he was ready for anything that stirred up over center ice. We had the enforcer in the middle," Durand said.

Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:



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