Matadors split their last two home games of the regular season

Monique Muñiz

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Matador goalie Ron Dierkes (76) blocks a shot from a Cougar player during Friday nights game. Photo Credit: Christianna Triolo / Staff Photographer

In their last homestand of the year, the Cal State Northridge hockey team came out even this weekend, losing against the No. 1 team in the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) Division-III, College of the Canyons, Friday night and bouncing back Saturday night to defeat UCLA.

Friday, the No. 2 Matadors faced the No. 1 ranked College of the Canyons. Both teams came into the game fighting for the best league and Pacific regional ranks, but Northridge, with a struggling second period, fell to the Cougars 7-3.

The first period was even at both ends of the ice and each team had 18 shots on net.

“The first period was good for us,” said CSUN head coach Steve Gale.

At the 15-minute mark the Cougars were putting on the pressure in CSUN’s zone, but Matador goalie Ron Dierkes made some amazing stops to keep the team alive.

The Matadors struck first to take their only lead in the game, but with 1:23 left in the first period, the Cougars came back to make it a 1-1 tie.

The start of the second period saw the Matadors killing a remaining penalty from the end of the first.  After that, CSUN’s defense collided.

They couldn’t clear the puck out of the zone and the Cougars scored three goals in that first five minutes and added another goal at the 12:45 mark to make it 5-1.

“We had a five-minute lapse and they kept the pressure on and we were on our heels,” coach Gale said.

The Matadors tried to make a comeback, when Anthony Kendryna would score on a power play at 11:19 mark and then added another goal with 9:23 left in the second period to make it 5-3.

“They showed a lot of heart coming back,” coach Gale said.

In the third period CSUN just couldn’t get any pressure on the Cougars goalie to score anymore goals.

After a disappointing loss, six Matador seniors came into Saturday’s game knowing it would be their last home game of their careers, and  made sure  to go out on top, as they trounced the Bruins 16-2.

CSUNs’ offense dominated the whole game and in the first period at the 15:25 mark Matador Jack Avetissian, who was one of four with a hat trick, started the scoring to make it 1-0.

In the second period, Kendryna scored a short-handed goal at 19:09 to make it 5-0.
CSUN added two more goals, and UCLA finally scored at the 5:16 mark for a 7-1 score.

The third period was all CSUN’s offense; they scored nine goals, giving Kendryna, Chris Gale and AJ Bernhardt hat tricks.

Regarding his last home game, captain JP Gale said after the game, “It was pretty sentimental, but it isn’t the last game of the season though.”

CSUN will head to South Lake Tahoe for the Pacific Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs starting in February.