Sometimes, even rivalry games can have blowouts.
The CSUN men’s hockey team extended their win streak to four games after beating the College of the Canyons Cougars on their own ice 15-4 Friday.
The games between these two teams are usually more anticipated than this season. Just last year, COC was ranked 10th in the nation by the American Collegiate Hockey Association among Division Three schools. But, this year is a different case. COC has yet to win a game this season.
After the opening face-off, it looked like the game might reflect the same physicality and fast scoring of previous games between the two teams. Both teams came out skating fast with big body checks being delivered by both sides. COC scored first with a shot from forward T.W. Flinders that went 5-hole on CSUN goalie Robert Beltrami.
Just over three minutes later, CSUN forward and leading scorer Chris Gale put in the first goal for the Matadors with an assist from defenseman Waleed Missoumi.
The momentum of both teams seemed unhindered by both goals. COC kept up with CSUN until Matadors defenseman and team captain J.P. Gale scored a goal with a slapshot from just in front of the neutral zone. That goal set off a scoring flurry by CSUN, which would last into the middle of the second period. In fact, CSUN scored 11 goals before COC netted their second.
COC seemed powerless to stop the Matadors from scoring. Trying to change the pace of the game, COC switched out starting goalie Alex Hoder for Kamron Javaherpour. But, after Javaherpour let in five goals on eight shots after just nine minutes in net, it was clear that the switch wasn’t their answer and they put Hoder back in the game.
More things went wrong for COC in the second period after Cougar forward Tyler Jones left the game after the first period. Jones was hit hard by two CSUN players in the neutral zone late in the first period. The hit knocked him flat on the ice and sent his stick flying into the protective netting above the glass. Jones said that he had been nursing a shoulder he had separated some time ago and that the hit had tweaked it a bit. He did not return to the game.
There wasn’t much offense for COC after the first period. The team was leaving CSUN players open, often untouched in front of the goal, and weren’t cutting off any passing lanes. The Cougars just couldn’t move the puck either, recording just 19 shots on goal compared to 45 shots by the Matadors.
Most of COC’s offense came from just two players. Forward Shawn Gardiner scored two goals and defenseman Zoli Berecz had three assists.
By the end of the game it was clear that the Matadors had overwhelmed the Cougars. COC looked exhausted by the end of the game as CSUN was still going strong. The cougars’ lack of intensity could’ve been due to a short bench. Without Jones, they were left with just 11 skaters, while CSUN had 17.
Despite the reason, CSUN easily outscored COC. The Cougars top scorer of the game had three points while CSUN had five players that scored at least that many points. Those players included CSUN’s top scoring line of Chris Gale, Jason Bobich, and Nikita Behm, who combined for nine goals and nine assists in the game.
COC will get a chance for revenge this season, but that isn’t until Feb. 9. Before then, CSUN has a tournament in Iowa this week and will be playing Dordt College and the University of Northern Colorado.
“It’s going to be a real test as to where we are,” said head coach Sean McLynn.