The CSUN men’s ice hockey team dominated the University of Redlands Bulldogs 18-5 on Saturday.
After losing two straight games, one to the University of California San Diego and the other to the University of California Irvine, the Matadors bounced back with an impressive three-game win streak. This win over the Redlands Bulldogs also improves the Matador’s season record to 5-2.
This was the second time CSUN played the Bulldogs this season, with the first game ending in a 16-2 victory to open up the season. Although CSUN head coach Sean McLynn said the Bulldogs have improved since they last met, the Matadors were just too much for the Redlands to hold back.
“They had a little bit of a shorter bench, ” McLynn said. “It looked like it turned their team out a little bit and allowed them to focus on their better players. They played more aggressive and have done better scoring-wise in the past few weeks. They’ve also had some close games against some of the northern teams, but I think that we just had too many weapons for them.”
There’s no shortage of weapons for the Matadors on the offensive side of the puck this season. Included in that list is the top line, consisting of Jason Bobich, Nikita Behm and Chris Gale.
Chris Gale is playing his first season with the Matadors and scored two hat-tricks on Saturday against the Bulldogs. He leads the team in scoring with 16 goals and 13 assists on the season. Defenseman and team captain J.P. Gale also has 13 assists, in addition to three goals and 22 penalty minutes this season. J.P. is also Chris’s older brother.
McLynn said J.P. has always been a solid player for the Matadors.
“J.P. is great,” McLynn said. “He’s a real physical guy. He plays hard and hits hard every game, every period and he’s always been a rock for us.”
Bobich also had four goals and two assists against the Bulldogs and forward Josh Fields netted an assist and a hat trick of his own.
As a head coach, McLynn is always looking for his team to improve. Despite the offensive skill CSUN displayed against the Redlands, the Matadors let in five goals to a team they had previously held to just two.
“We have to play better defense as a team,” McLynn said. “The tough part of our schedule is coming up, especially with a tournament in a couple weeks. It’s just something that we need to continue to work on. We’ll get better.”
The Clash in the Corn Tournament is Nov. 15 – 17 in Dordt, Iowa. McLynn said Dordt and University of Northern Colorado are both highly-ranked by the American Collegiate Hockey Association and the St. Olaf College team could be a struggle, as well.
“It’ll be a really tough tournament so we’ll need to really pull together as a team,” McLynn said.
Before travelling to Iowa for the Clash in the Corn Tournament, the Matadors will take on the College of the Canyons Cougars on Friday at the Valencia Ice Station. The Cougars have a history of producing well offensively and have developed quite a rivalry with CSUN over the past few seasons.
COC has struggled to find their game, however, going winless in six games so far this season. Despite a solid core of returning players from last season, the Cougars haven’t been able to produce offensively, scoring only nine goals on the season. Their defense has looked just as helpless, allowing an astounding 63 goals against them. Their closest final score this season has been a four-goal deficit. And all this is after being ranked 10th in the nation in the 2006 ACHA Division Three National Championship.
Although COC is clearly struggling, McLynn wants his team to stay focused to get the win on Friday.
“I’m expecting our team to go out there and play hard,” McLynn said. “It’s a very bitter rivalry where there’s never been an easy game for either team. I’m expecting our guys to come out and fire it up and play a strong game.”
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