It hasn’t even been a month into the new season and already the Polar Bears have six wins and are proving to be the team to beat.
After two home victories SRJC embarked on its first road game to face UC Davis October 4. The Polar Bears notched five goals against the enemy goalie before giving up two goals in the second period. SRJC put three more on the board in the third; just enough to edge an 8-7 win. Forward Dylan Dixon scored three goals in the game, with Adam Johnson (1 goal, 1 assist), John Keshishian (1 goal, 2 assists), Josiah Nikkel (2 goals) and Chris Whitten (1 goal) also contributing.
The next day SRJC returned to home and treated fans to a complete annihilation of Sacramento State University. Three players- Steven Dempsey, Josiah Nikkel and Alex De Vaughn- scored three goals each and Jackson Waldron scored his first goal in a Polar Bears jersey to highlight a 17-2 win.
“It was nice getting my first goal to go along with all the guys that chipped in for the win. It was really great to see Dempsey score that hat trick,” Waldron said. “We were focused on running our systems and feel pretty good going into the next game- we know we aren’t going to get anything easy.”
In the team’s second road game of the season October 11, SRJC played a rematch against UC Berkeley. Defensemen Blake Johnson opened with a shot passed the Cal goalie to give the Polar Bears a lead they wouldn’t give up. Dylan Dixon added two more before Cal scored one off SRJC’s Chris Tomaszewski. Jackson Joyce would get the point back with a goal to end the first period.
Polar Bear rookie Troy Tennison took over the net in the second period, allowing a Berkeley power play goal to get passed him to cut SRJC’s lead to two goals. Another power play goal by Cal later in the period would put the score at 5-3 heading into the final period. Berkeley challenged the Polar Bears for the lead, but Keshishian and Joyce added two more goals to close out the game. In the end it was SRJC on top, 7-4.
The Polar Bears faced Stanford University for the first time this season October 12 at home. SRJC struck first with a goal by defensemen Brian Cochran before Stanford took goalie Jacob Pavsek for two back-to-back goals. Pavsek silenced Stanford in the second as John Keshishian scored three goals for a total of eight unanswered goals in the period. Tomaszewski relieved Pavsek right before the third period and allowed Stanford one goal to end the game, 15-3.
While the Polar Bears have had great offensive success so far, SRJC is not taking any team they face lightly. Steven Dempsey- who has contributed 5 goals, 4 assists- says these first games have allowed the team to come together both on and off the ice.
“We have some important games coming up against talented teams and everyone is chomping at the bit to play in those games and get a real taste of what we are capable of achieving,” he said. “We thrive on the competition and are looking forward to using our depth and talent to make a strong showing this year. We definitely have national ambitions.”
SRJC will travel October 18 for a rematch against Stanford. The team’s scheduled home game against UC Santa Barbara the next day has been cancelled, but team officials are looking to organize a scrimmage for fans to enjoy. A four-game road trip October 24-27 is expected to challenge the team before heading home to Snoopy’s Home Ice November 2. Fans are encouraged to check the team’s social media sites for game updates.