The CSUN Matadors ice hockey team opened their ’07-’08 season on the road with a win over the University of Redlands Bulldogs Saturday.
Every team wants to start of their season with a win and the Matadors did it in dominating fashion, outscoring the Bulldogs 16-2. The win came after giving up an early goal to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead.
But that’s when CSUN took control. Major contributors to the team’s offense were forwards, senior Nikita Behm, junior Jason Bobich and freshman Chris Gale. The trio scored half of CSUN’s goals with both Behm and Bobich scoring hat-tricks, while Gale scored twice in his first regular season game with the Matadors.
CSUN head coach Sean McLynn said that the team’s top line is very strong, but the entire team really contributed to the win.
“Honestly, everyone really contributed and put up a lot of points.” McLynn said.
McLynn didn’t credit the win to just one line on the team, however. He mentioned that the team has a significant amount of depth, more than CSUN has had in the past few seasons.
“We’ve got a lot of confidence in all of our lines,” McLynn said. “We’re fortunate enough this year to be pretty deep.”
Despite the overwhelming scoring difference in the game, McLynn said the team can still play better.
“It’s hard to imagine by that score, but we didn’t really play as well as I’d expected.” McLynn said. “We started the game kind of slow and there were quite a few penalties.”
With the win conceivably out of reach for the Bulldogs, their frustration showed on the ice and they began committing penalties. Either the Bulldog’s frustration or their attempts to also get CSUN into the penalty box worked to lure the Matadors into penalty trouble.
“You play a team like that and they’re going to take a lot of penalties to try and slow you down,” McLynn said. “With it being so early in the season, we unfortunately retaliated and got caught up with the penalties ourselves.”
CSUN may have had penalty trouble early, but the rest of the game was a different story.
“We didn’t really keep our composure and come up with the chemistry we had hoped for early in the game.” McLynn said. “In the second half of the game we settled in, relaxed and just focused on our game and our offense. That’s when we pulled away.”
The Matadors will have to try and stay out of the penalty box this weekend. They have two tough road games ahead, starting with the San Jose State on Friday and Fresno State on Saturday.
San Jose looks like they’ll be the tougher team out of the two. But McLynn said Fresno could be a challenge as well.
“We’ve pretty much dominated them the past couple of seasons,” McLynn said. “But the one thing about Fresno is that they will always play tough regardless of their depth or their talent. They’re a very hard working team. We have our work cut out for us.”
The Matadors will have a week-long break following their two-game road trip. Then they’ll have their home-opener Saturday Oct. 13 at 8:30 p.m. against UC San Diego.
The Matadors’ home ice is the Valley Ice Center in Panorama City and admission to the game is free for CSUN students.
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