Tucson, AZ- The UC San Diego Roller Hockey Club set their sights on Arizona this past weekend. With games scheduled against UC Irvine, Cal Poly Pomona and University of Arizona, the Tritons looked to clinch a playoff spot in a very tight NCRHA Western Conference.
The first game of the day was against UCI and didn’t start as planned for the Tritons. An early penalty and the resultant power play goal gave an early lead to the Anteaters. Rattled by the quick strike, UC San Diego had trouble maintaining possession of the puck and just a few minutes later trailed by 2. Finally at the end of first period, momentum changed as the Tritons were rewarded with a power play. Although they were unable to find the back of the net, they found themselves getting some quality chances. The second period started with Irvine looking to regain their momentum, and were rewarded for their hard play early on by scoring 2 more goals to extend their lead to 4-0. Looking to create some offense in the third period, the Tritons were awarded a two-man advantage power play. With 5 minutes left in the game, Junior Jeremy Fong buried the puck in the back of the net to cut the deficit to 4-1. With desperation setting in, the Tritons pressed hard to get another goal, however a turnover in their own end lead to a breakaway going the other way. Irvine buried the chance and put the game away 5-1.
The second game of the day pitted the Tritons against Cal Poly Pomona. Looking to get revenge for an overtime loss to the Broncos earlier in the season, the Tritons came out hard outshooting their opponents 6-2 in the early going. Despite the momentum, a bad bounce that favored the Broncos gave them the early 1-0 lead. The resilient Triton team didn’t change their game plan and finally all the pressure lead to Jeremey Fong’s second goal of the day and a 1-1 tie. The second period was a much more even affair with the Broncos increasing their pressure. After back and forth play for the entire 12-minute period, the Tritons found themselves tied 2-2. Knowing 2 points in the standing was up for grabs, the Tritons scored two quick goals in the third to give them a lead they would hold on to. The game ended with a close 4-3 score, but the Tritons improved to 14 points on the season and now need just 1 point to clinch a spot in the regional playoffs.
The last game of the day saw the Tritons face off against a good University of Arizona team. A poor start put the Tritons in the hole early as they were outshot 11-4 and outscored 3-0. The six-man UC San Diego squad couldn’t do much against the fast eight-man Arizona team and the second and third period continued in the same fashion as the first with UC San Diego getting outshot 37-13 and outscored 6-0. Even though the Tritons were unable to get the one point necessary to clinch the postseason birth, they still have 4 more game to do so. The UC San Diego Roller Hockey Club with face UC Irvine, Chico State, Fullerton State and Cal on February 20th in Huntington Beach.