Club hockey defeats Fullerton to clinch division title


Charlie Gonzalez

Play has just resumed between the Matadors and Titans following a faceoff in period three on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023, at the Iceoplex in Simi Valley, Calif.

Charlie Gonzalez, Contributor

The CSUN men’s ice hockey team defeated the CSU Fullerton Titans 6-3, clinching the division title at the Iceoplex in Simi Valley on the night of Saturday, Jan. 28.

Coming into the game, the two squads sat atop the standings in the tier 2 south division of the West Coast Hockey Conference, with CSUN holding a perfect 9-0 record in conference play. Fullerton, who won seven games but lost three as well, was in second place. After the match concluded, Fullerton dropped to third place behind the UCSB Gauchos. CSUN’s victory also sealed a division title, which could mean that they will not play at full strength against Cal Lutheran on Saturday to avoid the risk of injuries, leading up to their first-round matchup against Santa Clarita.

With the playoffs beginning in two weeks, and a short-handed roster due to a handful of players having graduated in the fall, the Matadors met the moment. The player of the game, Geno Norraik, scored two goals and was credited with one assist. Four other players — Zach Carnes, Christian Parks, Isaac Anderson and Cole Komisar — each scored one goal.

The highlight of the game occurred in the final seconds of the first period when defenseman Carnes scored a goal from Fullerton’s blue line to put CSUN ahead 2-1. The spectators erupted into applause, mostly because nobody expected a goal to be scored right as the clock hit zero.

“That’s a great individual effort on his part,” head coach Rob Morgan said during the first break. “You know, he found some open ice, got up there with purpose and made a play at the net.”

In spite of their 6-3 victory, CSUN earned themselves nine total trips to the penalty box. The main culprit, Jake Dusterhoff, was sent there six times. These penalties gave Fullerton ample opportunity to convert on multiple power plays, but they failed to capitalize on any of them.

During the break between periods two and three, Morgan emphasized the importance of minimizing careless mistakes and reckless play.

“We need to be more disciplined,” Morgan said. “We don’t have enough players on our roster right now to take penalties like that. We’ll make sure that they’re playing with more composure and keeping their emotions in check.”

In the third period, the Titans came within one goal of tying when they made it 3-2, but the Matadors scored back-to-back goals to put the game out of reach.

The CSUN men’s ice hockey club’s regular season will conclude on Saturday, Feb. 4 against the last-place Cal Lutheran University Kingsmen, a team the Matadors defeated 18-0 in October. The playoffs begin the weekend of Feb. 9 at UCLA.