CSUN hockey seeking fast start against 49ers

Monique Muñiz

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CSUN defenders help out goalie Ron Dierkes in front of the net during their home opener Sept. 18 at Valley Ice Center against the San Diego Aztecs. The Matadors will be looking fo their first victory of the season against the 49ers. Photo Credit: Monique Muniz Assistant Sports Editor

With a team trying to rebuild and gain chemistry this season, the CSUN

hockey (0-2) team has yet to produce a win.

CSUN will face Cal State Long Beach for the second time this season on Saturday at Valley Ice Center starting at 8:30 p.m.

Previously the Matadors lost 4-3 to the 49ers with a capacity crowd at the Glacial Garden Arena.

“It was disappointing for us to come out in that game and have a slow first period,” assistant captain Chris Gale said. “This coming game we should come out on fire.”

Northridge went into the game with no momentum as it fell to a 3-0 deficit in the first period, but bounced back to tie the game in the second period.

“Our team defense hasn’t been there to make sure we back check,” Gale said. “I would say through our second and third period of our last game it was a lot better.”

During practice CSUN has changed their defensive system to man-to-man, which help them in the second and third period against the 49ers, when they only allowed one goal.

“With our forwards coming back to help us out was really an improvement from our first game against San Diego.” assistant captain Aj Bernhardt said.

Unfortunately, the Matadors gave up the winning goal in the last three minutes of the game. They have allowed 87 shots on net and 13 goals, while as a team they have taken 67 shots on net and have seven goals.

The Matadors power play had been most effective in  the beginning of this season, which they have four goals on the man advantage, while their even strength game has yet to start producing goals with only three so far.

“It’s getting there, the biggest thing early on in the season is building chemistry especially with a lot of new guys it takes time.” Gale said.

Offensively Gale continues to contribute with three goals on the season, while junior forward John Dove has two goals, being the only new player to score.

“When you have new guys coming in they may have a few nerves or don’t know what the level of play is like and it takes a little time for them to get adjusted,” Gale said. “I’m hoping that everyone is going to start coming through, hopefully with these next few games to come we will see how the offense steps up.”

As for Long Beach (2-0), who is in the Division-II level, they have forward Skyler Hoar, who leads the 49ers with three goals and defenseman James Robelotto has four assists. In goal for Long Beach is St. Louis Ricky, who is the team’s only goalie this season.

“We know what to expect now.” Bernhardt said, “We know they are a fast team. They’re in a division above us and they have a lot of talent. I think in that first period of the last game we were blown away with how fast they were, but we came back and made the adjustment we needed to make. Hopefully this coming game we have a strong first period and stay focused on our team defense.”