There’s nothing better than a weekend full of intense hockey matches, and luckily for Polar Bear fans some of the best collegiate teams are about to invade Snoopy’s Home Ice.
The Polar Bears will host the third annual Wine Country Collegiate Classic November 7-9, welcoming three top teams from the American Collegiate Hockey Association to its rink. College of the Canyons, UC Davis and the University of Northern Colorado will arrive Thursday for a three-day showcase that will surely test all teams as each look to gain a step ahead on the path to nationals.
The showcase will kick off Thursday, November 7 with the Polar Bears taking on UC Davis at 6:30 p.m. SRJC faced their PCHA rival in early October, just barely claiming an 8-7 victory. But instead of playing in an unfriendly Vacaville Ice, the Polar Bears will face Davis for the first time at home, and are confident they will once again come out on top.
College of the Canyons will close out day one of the showcase against the University of Northern Colorado at 9 p.m. CoC will need to channel its national championship form as it looks for win number one on the season against a surging Colorado quad.
On Friday, November 8, Colorado will take on UC Davis at 5:30 p.m. for the first game, followed by the Polar Bears 8 p.m. match against CoC. SRJC played the Southern California team two weeks ago in a 10-4 win. While the match signaled SRJC’s fifth double-digit win of the season, CoC kicked it up a notch in the third period of the match, nearly marking a comeback. This time around SRJC will need to make sure it maintains consistency throughout the game.
The last day of the showcase will pit the Polar Bears against Colorado at 5:30 p.m., a team they have yet to play. Colorado has an impressive 11-1-1 record, winning their last nine games including a 15-5 victory over Creighton University last weekend. Like SRJC, Colorado scores early and often and has eight different players with double digit points. The Polar Bears will have to watch out for Freshman Mike Tabrum, who currently leads Colorado with 22 points (10 goals, 12 assists).
The final game of the night will be CoC against UC Davis.
With the first set of league rankings coming up in the next few weeks, SRJC needs to continue to prove they are the team to beat this season. After starting out 8-0, the Polar Bears broke even in their last six games (3-3 record) and need to find the consistency and control they displayed before. The team knows these showcase matches will be a huge factor in as the rest of the season unfolds.
“We've had these three showcase games circled on the calendar from the beginning of the year,” said head coach Tom Billeter. “We expect Northern Colorado and College of the Canyons to be ranked with us, so there will be a lot riding on those two games. Three wins this weekend could solidify our ranking as a top 10 team.”
This weekend will be an exciting time for fans as it is one of the last home matches before SRJC breaks for winter. Players hope all fans come out to a game to help them conquer this competition.
“I’m really looking forward to my first showcase with the team,” said Jackson Waldron. “We play some tough teams that should be a good test for us. We’ve got the best fans in the league, so it’ll be great to host this showcase in our own barn.”