CSUN men’s ice hockey falls to GCU in quarterfinals


Screenshot from Matador Sports Network

The Matadors try to win the faceoff, leading to a game-tying goal by Geno Norraik in the third period against Grand Canyon University on Friday, Feb. 10, 2023, at The Cube in Santa Clarita, Calif.

Charlie Gonzalez, Sports Writer

CSUN men’s ice hockey club’s stellar season came to an end after a 7-4 quarterfinals loss against the Grand Canyon University Antelopes, with struggles in the late third period costing them the game on Friday, Feb. 10, at The Cube in Santa Clarita.

Heading into the postseason, the Matadors clinched the tier 2 south division title by earning a perfect 9-0 record against their Southern California rivals. Fresh off a dominant 16-3 victory in their first playoff game over tier 2 north division champion Santa Clara University on Thursday, Feb. 9, expectations were high for the Matadors going into Friday’s matchup.

The first period went back-and-forth, with each club scoring two goals. GCU stayed in the game despite being short-handed after committing two penalties. Geno Norraik, CSUN’s leading scorer this season, struck first, with an assist from Christian Parks. After the Matadors fell behind 2-1, Isaac Anderson tied the game on a power play with assists from two players.

The second period was when CSUN began to slip up and play sloppily. GCU outscored CSUN 2-1, taking advantage of the latter’s five trips to the penalty box. Ryan Latz committed a two-minute tripping penalty, and followed that up with a two-minute kneeing penalty eight seconds after leaving the penalty box. At the same moment, Parks committed a roughing penalty, leaving CSUN short-handed by two players. The power plays carried over into the third period, but the Matadors managed to kill them off.

With 13 minutes remaining in the game, Norraik scored on a power play, tying the game at four. This would be the last time CSUN got on the board, as GCU scored three unanswered goals to advance in the American Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs.

The 2022-23 season was the first for the men’s ice hockey club to not be affected by COVID-19. While some players graduated after the holidays, the Matadors kept their momentum going in spite of their short-handed roster. There will be three players graduating before the fall of 2023: Parks, Zachary Carnes, and Nicholas Schwartz. Parks is second on the team in goals with 20, while Carnes has eight, the most of any defenseman on the Matadors. Schwartz contributed five goals as well. With some holes to fill, coach Robert Morgan and the Matadors will look to defend their division title during the 2023-24 season.