A capacity crowd of screaming fans was silenced by the second period as San Diego State pounded the host Matadors 9-4 on their season opener Saturday night.
The Aztec scored a combined six goals in the 2nd and 3rd period to give CSUN, who is known for its high scoring offense, a taste of its own medicine.
“They put us on our heels and we didn’t come out with the passion and the fight that we need to,” head coach Steve Gale said.
Less than three minutes into the game the Matadors came out looking like the team from last season as Chris Gale started the scoring with a power play goal. Then with 14:20 remaining in the first period Gale scored on a shorthanded goal to take a 2-0 lead.
“The first ten minutes we dominated and if we play like that all year we’d be great,” Steve Gale said, “unfortunately, you have to play sixty minutes not ten.”
The Aztecs answered back with two goals of their own to tie the game at 2-2 with 6:30 left in the first period. By the end of the period CSUN came back with a two man advantage power play goal by Junior John Dove for his first goal as a Matador.
After San Diego State tied the game with a minute gone by in the second period, it was downhill for CSUN.
“We started giving up,” Chris Gale, who was one goal shy of hat trick, said. “They popped in a goal shortly after and it took the wind out of our sails.”
San Diego State took its first lead of the game at 16:02 and added two more goals at the end of the second period to make it a 6-3 lead.
In the third period the Aztecs kept the offense attack on by adding three more goals. For CSUN, Anthony Kendryna scored on another power play goal with 3:48 left in the period.
“We stopped playing and started standing around and watching rather than moving our feet and playing,” Steve Gale said.
Throughout the game the Aztecs kept the pressure in the Matador zone, which they didn’t allow Northridge to get any control of the puck.
“It is definitely a learning experience for us,” Chris Gale said. “Defensively we didn’t play as a unit and that was clearly the problem, they scored a lot of goals on us five-on-five.”
San Diego State had contributions across its roster as Aztec Anthony Sansone was the only player with two goals in the game.
“You have to have a variety of guys scoring,” Chris Gale said. “It is hard when only one line is producing, we need more production.”
CSUN’s starting goalie Ron Dierkes had 48 shots against him with 39 saves but thought he didn’t play up to his potential.
“I played bad, I didn’t feel like myself, like I did last year,” Dierkes said, “but we all agree that none of us played our best game.”
With the regular season starting right away CSUN has no time to sit around and wait for the team to jell together.
“There is no preseason here, this is what we get and we have to learn and quick,” Steve Gale said.
Next, CSUN will head on the road where they will take on Cal State Long Beach in its home opener at the Glacial Gardens on Saturday at 8:30 p.m.