All eyes are on the SRJC Hockey team this weekend, as it fights to bring home its third straight league championship title in the annual Pacific Collegiate Hockey Association Tournament.
Held Feb. 14-15 in South Lake Tahoe, the top four PCHA teams—UC Davis, SRJC, San Jose State University and San Francisco State University— will go head-to-head in this year’s league playoffs.
UC Davis, the No. 1 seed, will take on first-year tournament participants San Francisco State University, in game one at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 14.
As the No. 2 seed in the PCHA, the Polar Bears will match up against San Jose State University at 3:45 p.m. SRJC swept the season series against SJSU, outscoring the Division III squad 39-8. The two teams ended the regular season against each other in a 14-2 SRJC victory Feb. 6.
The winners of both games will face off in the championship game at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 15. The other two teams will play two hours prior to determine the third-place winner.
While the Polar Bears must first get through SJSU, the biggest challenge they will possibly face is UC Davis. If both teams make it to the championship match, it will definitely be one to remember. Neither team has a clear edge over each other, with UC Davis taking the season series 2-1.
Learning from mistakes in their last game against UC Davis, players understand what needs to be done this time around.
“We need to stay consistent and come out in all three periods determined to get the win. If we let up, even for a second, that might give Davis the chance to get the upper hand. If we can stop them from even getting a chance or a glimpse of hope, we should come out with the win,” said Colin Ridenour.
Captain Blake Johnson, who is one of two players who have seen UC Davis in playoffs before, echoed Ridenour’s comment about consistency in all three periods.
“We’ve got to play a 60-minute game, skate hard the entire way. Even if we’re up 2-0 or down 2-0 after that first period, we cannot back off,” he said.
SRJC’s position in this year’s tournament is very similar to its first year in the PCHA. In the 2013 tournament, the No. 2 Polar Bears faced No. 3 Santa Clara University in the first game. SRJC skated away with an 8-5 win, facing UC Davis in the final round. Just like this year, UC Davis was the No. 1 tournament seed, league leader and produced the top two scorers (Gordon Dickson and Lucas Digati). The team held fast against UC Davis, eventually grabbing a 9-5 win and its first Adam’s Cup.
Fans can stay up-to-date all weekend long by following the action on the team’s Facebook page.