A 17-1 win? Now that’s the SRJC Hockey team we know and love!
In their last game of 2014, the Polar Bears completely dominated San Francisco State in a lopsided victory that saw production from every single player.
Coming off a disheartening series the weekend before, the Polar Bears faced their PCHA rival Dec. 13 looking to get back in the win column.
Knowing the game wouldn’t be as intense as prior matches, SRJC was able to sit ailing players and allow others to take the reins. This included inserting rookie goalie Dylan Farinacci in net, and putting starting goaltender Dominic Jones onto the forward line.
With different pairings, SRJC needed a few minutes to adjust before going on an offensive frenzy. Points leader Josiah Nikkel kicked it off with an unassisted goal at 16:24; he followed it up with another goal 10 minutes later. Matt Katicich and Patrick Parnell also got in on the action, giving SRJC a comfortable 4-0 lead to end the period.
SRJC didn’t waste any time in the second, with John Keshishian scoring eight seconds after puck drop. Katicich and Parnell added two more goals, as did freshman points leader Josh Greenwell. Nikkel completed the hat trick in the second, paving way for Greenwell, Katicich and Keshishian (four goals) to do the same in the third period.
Most of the action stayed in the Polar Bear’s attack zone, although Farinacci received several chances to show off on his end of the ice. Getting his first start, the rookie made some impressive saves to stop SFSU from scoring several times in the second period. Only blemish on Farinacci’s night came with 1:24 left in the game, when SFSU scored a goal that barely looked like it touched net.
“It was a great shot, nothing you can do about that. It just got by me,” Farinacci said.
This was the first time this season one of the Polar Bear’s freshman goalies got the chance to start a match. Mostly Jones and veteran Jacob Pavsek have guarded the net in the first half.
“I was extremely nervous, but as soon as I stepped on the ice the nerves were gone and I was ready to play,” Farinacci said of his first start in goal.
Also getting his first taste in a way was Tommy Dennen. The rookie forward scored his first goal as a Polar Bear, with an unassisted shot for the eventual 17-1 win.
“I think I had to get my confidence there, take advantage of my opportunities more. I was a little passive sometimes, thinking it would come to me,” Dennen said of his long-awaited first point. “I’ve been skating a little harder and tying to be more a part of the unit.”
The SFSU win is a huge confidence booster for the Polar Bears, who have made the best of a month ladened with injury and ineligibility. Head coach Mike Kovanis said this win came at a perfect time and yielded several advantages such as pairing different pieces to see what worked and getting some players more ice time.
Going forward SRJC will need production from all of their lines, and Kovanis was happy to see production from Dennen, Parnell and Travis LaBrucherie who had three assists.
“I think a lot of guys, like those mentioned, have stepped up and done what’s been asked of them with moving around in the lines. This has been from a combination of necessity and a bit of experiment,” Kovanis said. “We like to see how guys react in various roles and show the staff what they’re capable of. This allows us to have greater options for in-game decisions and we’ve been impressed with what we’ve seen.”
The Polar Bears will break for the winter session and return to competition Jan.17, 2015 in an away game against Stanford University. They will return to Snoopy’s Home Ice a week later.