Contrary to the mighty previous years, this year the Tritons barely qualified for the Regional Championships at Corona, being seeded in the last qualifying spot. The team was guaranteed to play 3 games, and until then it was all up to the team to fight to the finals. The tournament consisted of 2 pools of 3 teams each, and a round-robin was played to determine seeding within the pools. The first place team would get a bye, and seeds 2 and 3 would play the other seed in the other pool.
In their first game against the Cal Poly Pomona Mustangs, the Tritons striked first with a beauty of a power play goal by Gary Soeller, but Pomona responded with 2 quick goals for the lead after the first period. Shortly into the second period, grad student Daniel Rey put in a quick one to tie up the game, but once again Pomona retaliated with another 2 quick goals. The second period ended with a goal in a combined effort by goal scorer Stefan Jovanovich, forward Dylan Shives, and defenseman Jeremy Fong in a beautifully executed tic-tac-toe play. Although the Tritons played a good possessive game, they could not keep the biscuit out of their basket as Cal Poly scored another 2 goals half way into the third period to give them an unfortunate 3 goal lead. Jovanovich managed to squeeze another goal by the Pomona goaltender shortly after, but that concludes the scoring for the game ending in a 6-4 loss for UCSD.
The Tritons second game of the tournament was against the top seeded Chico State University. Chico had a small bench and had only a short rest after their previous game, but they still came out strong and scored 2 goals barely 3 minutes into the first period. The Tritons held on and Grant Marcy scored just a couple minutes into the second period to cut the lead to 1, but not before Chico scored another goal less than a minute after that. The flashy glove hand of the Chico goaltender proved too much for the Tritons to handle, who shot after shot kept putting it towards the glove side of the goal. Chico dominated the third period as they opened the period up by scoring 2 goals. All seemed to be lost when one of their forwards managed to open up a breakaway, but a final desperate effort by defenseman Jeremy Fong managed to catch up to the Chico player and make a diving slash to knock the puck away, getting sent to the sin-bin in the process. Chico managed to convert on the ensuing power play and showed no signs of holding back while they scored another 2 goals thereafter, giving them a 8-1 win.
Seeded third in their pool, the Tritons took on Northern Arizona University on the same night in an effort to fight for a spot in the semi finals. NAU opened with a quick goal, and the Tritons responded with one of their own to put the game at a tie halfway into the first. However, that did not last long as NAU scored another two goals by the end of the period to give them a 3-1 lead. A power play goal and another in the second period let the Tritons tie the game up, but once again, NAU put another 3 goals in the back of the Tritons net to cancel out their early efforts. By the 3rd period, the refs had seemingly had enough of the game and decided to call every single penalty under the sun. Barely 2 minutes would go by before the refs would decide to raise the arm again to call another penalty. The lack of momentum did not translate well for the Tritons as NAU scored goal after goal, all by 1 player, to extend their big lead. The Tritons lost the game 10-5, with 9 of their goals scored by a single player, and that was the end of regionals for the boys.
The season has not been great, but we believe one day the team will be back to the glory it was a few years ago, and with a large portion of the team’s core (forwards Dylan Shives, Grant Marcy, defenseman Jeremy Fong, and goaltender Ryan Jensen) graduating this year, the team will need the remaining players to step up and fill the holes left by these long standing players, and must find another goaltender to fill in the position.