CSUN hockey sweeps GCU

    CSUN’s ice hockey team completed a sweep of Grand Canyon University last weekend.

    The Matadors returned home following their season opener at the Boise State University hockey showcase last weekend and CSUN picked up two crucial wins.

    “A quick start was great for the team because we were able to bounce back from last weekend and to come out strong,” Quentin Abaya said.

    Mason Yuen and Garrett Heftye assisted Quentin Abaya to get the Matadors an early 1-0 lead.

    The Matadors saw opportunities to present themselves, and in the middle of the second period, Alex Reints and Eli Berengut skated in on a two on one. Reints had the initial shot on goal, and a loose puck ended up on Berengut’s stick and was put it in the back of the net.

    “After I stick lifted the defender in our zone and stole the puck from him, I picked my head up and saw Reintsy [Reints] skating up,” Berengut said. “I caught up for the two on one and he gave me a perfect pass-off-pad play straight to my stick which resulted with the puck in the net.”

    Newcomer Matt Hoover helped seal the win for CSUN with an additional two goals late in the game. The Matadors were victorious 4-1.

    “Going into the weekend, we knew the importance of taking both games against GCU to get our record to .500,” Hoover said. “Panger [Tommy Pang] was moved to Cameron Rorick’s and my line and we build chemistry quickly and were able to get points on the board quickly. Every goal from our line has come as a result of hard work along the boards and grinding the puck out.”

    Hoover continued early success this season with another strong showing Saturday night en route to a CSUN sweep of GCU.

    “It was great to see Kal [Kalvoda] and Vince [Sepe] get back to form this weekend,” head coach JP Gale said. “Every goal GCU scored they deserved or had some puck luck. When our goalies play up to their abilities, we’re a hard team to beat. They are the backbone of this team.”

    Minutes into the game, Heftye wasted no time getting the Matadors the lead. Assisted by Abaya and Yuen, Heftye put it past the GCU goaltender and the Matadors were out early.

    Shortly after, Hoover got the second goal with assistance from Pang and Rorick. The Matadors rode high with a 2-0 lead.

    The Matadors surrendered two to the Antelopes and the game was tied at two. CSUN was also awarded a powerplay in the second and a Berengut goal gave the Matadors the 3-2 advantage.

    “The powerplay is something we’ve been focusing a lot on in practice so we’re trying to get both our power plays producing,” Berengut said. “Once we get one in, their whole team will starts breaking down, and when that happens, we have to push harder.”

    Hoover added his team leading sixth and tipped in his seventh goal on the season late in the game following a Levi Bolls’ bomb from the point, giving Hoover the hat trick for the game as well a victory for CSUN.

    “Over the weekend, we had a variety of scoring coming from each line,” said Hoover. “We build momentum off each other during games. This works to our advantage as we will be hard to beat when each line is producing and putting up points like we did against GCU.”

    The Matadors skated to a two-game sweep of GCU and a tough task ahead as West Coast Hockey Conference play begins this weekend.

    “We’re going to try and continue to build on the momentum of this past weekend against Cal State, Fullerton,” Gale said. “I would say every game we’ve played, we’ve been the faster and more physical team, except against Utah State. We expect to play to our strengths again this weekend.”

    The defending champions open WCHC play against rival Cal State Fullerton Saturday night.