The win streak continues as the Polar Bears annihilated the competition over the weekend, besting both Sacramento State and San Jose State’s Division III team for the second time this season.
SRJC traveled to Vacaville to take on Sac State Friday night, last seeing its division rival in early October. The Polar Bears didn’t waste any time getting on the board, scoring 21 seconds into the game then making it 2-0 with a shot by forward Jimmy Reed. Sac State scored on a power play shortly after, but SRJC still held a 4-1 lead thanks to an Adam Johnson goal as the first period ended. The Polar Bears added six more goals in the second period, giving up two to Sac State in the process. SRJC put up three more in the third period, including a shorthander by Dylan Dixon. Sac State tried to make a play in the final seven minutes of the game, netting three goals to cut the Polar Bear’s lead to 13-6. Despite scoring another goal on the man advantage to end the game, Sac State came up short 13-7.
The next day SRJC met San Jose State’s DIII team at Shark’s Ice in Fremont for another exciting PCHA matchup. Team points leader Josiah Nikkel opened the game with a shot past the San Jose goalie, followed by two Blake Johnson goals. Dylan Dixon notched his second goal of the night seconds after San Jose slipped one by goalie Jacob Pavsek to end the first period with a 5-1 lead. The Polar Bears made a change in the net to start the second, inserting freshman Troy Tennison. Tennison kept San Jose from scoring the final two periods as his teammates went on an offensive beat down, ending the match 20-1.
John Keshishian scored a natural hat trick (three goals in the second period), ending the night with five goals, 1 assist. Rounding out the offense was Nikkel (2 goals, 4 assists), Dixon (3 goals, 3 assists) and Jackson Joyce (2 goals, 3 assists).
The Polar Bears will break until December 13 when they will travel to the Cow Palace to take on San Francisco State University. SRJC will return to competition after the New Year, when the team will open the second half of the season against the Tahoe Blue January 4, 2014.
In their last home game of 2013, the SRJC hockey team beat Santa Clara University 10-2 to sweep its Pacific Collegiate Hockey Association rivals this season.
Before Saturday’s game, the current PCHA champions had beaten five out of six of its division opponents by big margin victories. Despite losing their home match against Santa Clara last year, the Polar Bears were confident they’d get lucky division win number six.
Forward Jackson Joyce put the Polar Bears on the board after a laser shot passed by defensemen Eric Zagacki. The lead was short lived as Santa Clara scored two goals off Polar Bear goalie Troy Tennison. Santa Clara seemed to have SRJC’s number but the team regained its momentum as John Keshishian and Dylan Dixon scored to end the first period. From there, Tennison shut the door on Santa Clara as his teammates padded the score.
The Polar Bears have been working on their power play in practice and it paid off in the last two periods of the game. Rookie Jimmy Reed found the back of the net with an assist from Keshishian to end the second period, and defensemen Steven Dempsey closed out the game with a goal on the man advantage. In total, SRJC added seven goals in the final two frames to secure the win over its PCHA opponent.
Keshishian ended the night with two goals, two assists; Chris Whiten had one goal, two assists; and Dixon, one goal, two assists. Josiah Nikkel ended his 16-game point streak, while Tennison saved 16 of 18 shots in his fifth win of the season.
“I think it was obvious in the first period that we were still tired from the showcase, but we took care of business and that’s what matters most,” Jimmy Reed said. “We’ll use the momentum from these last games to bring our game up and keep it at a high level for nationals.”
The Polar Bears will close out the first half of the season with three road games against PCHA teams, including two this weekend versus Sacramento State University and the San Jose State Division III team.
“Knowing that we have beat teams that we have played before gives us confidence in playing them,” Reed said, “but we can’t underestimate them because every game counts.”
For updates from this weekend’s games, please stay tuned to the team’s social media pages.
It was a showcase to remember as the SRJC hockey team dominated its competition this weekend at the third annual Wine Country Collegiate Classic, winning all three matches and solidifying its place among the best of the American Collegiate Hockey Association.
Welcoming UC Davis, College of the Canyons and the University of Northern Colorado, the Polar Bears felt confident they would continue their first half success. From the first puck drop Thursday, Nov. 7 to the final buzzer on Saturday, Nov. 9, SRJC wowed opponents and fans alike as it never backed down once on its path to victory.
Thursday: SRJC 8 vs. UC Davis 3
The rivalry between these two clubs has slowly built over the last year with each match more heated than the last. Between UC Davis’ PCHA championship loss and SRJC handing the team its first defeat of the new season, this first showcase match was sure to be exciting.
SRJC struck first as defenseman Eric Zagacki shot one past the right side of the Davis goalie to give his team the lead with five minutes left in the first period. The pass from Josiah Nikkel to Zagacki upped Nikkel’s personal point streak to 14 games. Forward John Keshishian scored one more before Davis scored back-to-back to tie the score at two to end the period.
It was all SRJC in the second, tacking on four goals including two by Adam Johnson. The Polar Bear defense limited Davis’ action in the period including a sweet glove save by Troy Tennison after a breakaway. The Polar Bears continued their dominance in the third period as Johnson completed the hat trick with help once again from defensemen Brian Cochran and Sam Davis. As the minutes ran down and Tennison was called for interference, Davis scored on a power play as the goalies changed on the fly. But Brandon Bronze closed out the period with a shot, sealing an 8-3 victory.
Friday: SRJC 10, College of the Canyons 0
Tempers flared for most of the game as CoC looked to avenge the 10-4 loss the Polar Bears handed the team two weeks ago. The first period was scoreless as each team defended its end of the ice near flawlessly, but it was Polar Bear goalie Chris Tomaszewski that proved to be perfect.
The sophomore goalie stopped everything that came his way as teammate Dylan Dixon scored two goals to top a six-goal second period. The Polar Bears put up four more in the third, shutting out the Southern California team 10-0. Tomaszewski saved 15 shots, earning his six win of the season and first shutout.
Josiah Nikkel continue his point streak, notching two goals and three assists on the night, complimenting Dixon (2 goals, 1 assist) and Chris Whitten (1 goal, 3 assists).
Saturday: SRJC 3. University of Colorado 2
Like the Polar Bears, Colorado had won its first two matches of the showcase by big margins over CoC and Davis. Earlier in the day both teams were ranked in the top 10 of the ACHA’s Division III, making the matchup between SRJC (#5) and Colorado (#3) one of the biggest games of the season.
The game did not disappoint as both teams battled to prove which one was the showcase’s best. Polar Bear Jimmy Reed struck first three minutes into the first, a lead SRJC hung onto for 10 minutes before Colorado tied the score and then made it 2-1 on a power play. Frustration set in as both teams were called for multiple penalties in the second. After killing off a call for interference, Josiah Nikkel tied the score off a pass from Blake Johnson and Dylan Dixon. It would stay tied until midway through the third period when Cochran scored a power play goal to give SRJC the lead. Fans were on the edge of their seats as the team traded penalties for the last couple of minutes of the game. But the Polar Bears held on to win 3-2.
Sweeping the weekend was a big boost for SRJC’s record, but more importantly it allowed for the Polar Bears to come together as a team and show they are the ones to beat this season.
“We all knew that CoC and UNC would come to play and it’s always exciting to get to play big games in our barn. Our fans create a rough environment for the visitors,” Tomaszewski said. “These three wins are huge for the club. Last weekend made SRJC Hockey a real contender in the run for nationals and it gives new resolve to the team. We’ve got to keep working hard- there’s a lot of hockey left.”
The SRJC Ice Hockey club and their fans celebrated the Armed Services on Saturday night at Snoopy’s Home Ice during Military Appreciation Day.
As a part of Veterans Day weekend, Military Appreciation Day is the SRJC Ice Hockey Team’s way of saying thank you to the men and women who have bravely defended, and those who continue to defend, our country. “Military Appreciation Night has become one of our signature events that the organization and our fans look forward to each year,” said Director of Public Relations Jacob Fitzpatrick. “We’ve had the privilege to meet many service members throughout the years and their commitment to our nation is extremely inspiring. An event like Saturday’s is the very least we can do to show our gratitude.”
The Veterans Day ceremony started just after warm-ups with a moment of silence, when fans were asked to raise and remove their caps, in remembrance of those who served and continue to serve.
The SRJC Ice Hockey team has a unique link to Armed Services, as Polar Bear Defensemen Brian Cochran is active in the Marine Corps. Cochran, a machine gunner serving with the 2nd battalion as a Lance Corporal has been serving for 2 years.
The SRJC Hockey Team was honored to have David Goode of the US Army drop the ceremonial first puck of the game. David served in New Guinea and the Philippines Jungles from 1941 to 1945 as combat riflemen for the 41st infantry division. “We are proud to honor our military service men and women who keep our state and country safe,” said Fitzpatrick. “We are thrilled that David Goode could join us for this special night.”
The American Collegiate Hockey Association released the preliminary rankings on Friday, which has the SRJC Polar Bears in the 5th spot for the Pacific region. This starting position is 8 spots higher than the Polar Bears’ starting position last season and places them securely in a regional playoff picture.
Teams ranked #1 and #2 in the final ranking period in February receive an automatic bid to the national tournament, teams ranked #3 through #10 attend the regional tournament to battle for the last two spots at the national tournament.
The Polar Bears play #3 University of Northern Colorado Tonight at 5:30pm at Snoopy’s Home Ice. This game will have a huge impact on the second rankings when they are released in early December. This game is being considered the most anticipated game of the season for the SRJC Polar Bears. Fans are asked to arrive early to ensure setting is available.
2013-14 Preliminary Rankings:
Rank Pacific Team
2 Aurora University Blue
3 Northern Colorado
4 Marquette University
5 Santa Rosa Junior College
6 Robert Morris University
7 Northern Arizona University
8 Colorado School of Mines
9 Missouri State University
10 Metro State Univ. of Denver
12 Bradley University