Originally Published 11/12/16 on NCRHA.ORG and WCRHL.COM
If you were in the sports book this weekend, the best bet was UCSB. It wouldn’t be easy money, odds would be fairly even, evidenced by their 4-0 start in San Jose. But you’d end up ahead, since UC Santa Barbara has continued their unbeaten streak, going 4-0 on the weekend. UCSB is 1 of only 2 undefeated Division I teams in the country, the other being Michigan State.
UCSB’s first 3 games were highly contested, with the 4th being an 11-1 win against Long Beach State. Game 1 against UNLV saw UNLV get out to a 4-0 lead, with 3 UNLV goals coming on the power play. The 2nd half of the 2nd period saw 4 consecutive UCSB goals to make it even going into the 3rd. UCSB then outscored UNLV 4-2 in the final stanza for the 8-6 win, mainly in part to both Mooney Bros. having 7 points in the contest. Game 2 was an 8-5 win against Arizona State, with UCSB up 7-1 late in the 2nd. Arizona State chipped away and had a great 3rd period, with 2 late goals from Ryan Cotton, but came up short. Game 3 for UCSB was against archrival Cal Poly, and saw UCSB get up 4-0 in the 1st half of the game, Poly scoring 2 goals late in the 2nd and early in the 3rd, making it 4-2. UCSB scored again, going up 5-2, and Poly battled back, getting to a 1-goal game by scoring with 2 seconds remaining in the game. Cal Poly did get a shot on goal on the faceoff, but it was turned away by UCSB goaltender, Colin Menz, who is a perfect 8-0 on the season, and has turned away more shots than any other WCRHL Division I goaltender at this point.
Arizona State closed out the evening, defeating Cal Poly by a score of 5-0. Arizona State went 3-1 on the weekend, with Ryan Cotton, Wes Fry, Jayme Haveman, and Jake Romo all contributing. ASU has now jumped Cal Poly in the standings, and currently sits in 2nd place. Goaltender Braxton Schulz leads all WCRHL goaltenders with 2.75 Goals Against and an 88.3% Save Percentage. Cotton and Fry lead the team with 9 points a piece.
We saw UNLV in their first event of the season, finishing with a respectable 2-2 record. This being the first games together for several of the players, and graduating a large amount of last season’s National Runner-Up squad, the first game showed some “feeling out” of UCSB, as well as their teammates. It’s obvious that they can score, and they have great goaltending, which we saw both this weekend. Game 1 saw UNLV get up to a 4-0 lead, as mentioned above, with a large amount of power play scoring. UNLV defeated Cal Poly and Long Beach, both by 3 goals, and dropped their final game against Arizona State by a score of 6-2. It should be noted that the UNLV/ASU game was a 4-2 game until the final minute, with 2 late goals by ASU as UNLV gambled with the goaltender pulled and going for bust. New UNLV teammate Kory Grahl scored 6 goals on the day, with Cody Williams and Ian Davis putting up 7 points each as well.
Yes, Long Beach State went 0-4 on the weekend. However, Beach’s games against Arizona State and UNLV were within reach (2-goal and 3-goal losses). Long Beach found themselves behind in each game this weekend, and it was difficult to battle back and get on top. West McCann leads Long Beach with 3 goals and 4 assists in their first 8 games.
One thing we saw this weekend was that a 4-goal lead is not enough in roller hockey. UCSB overcame that against UNLV, and almost let one slip against Cal Poly. It is going to be that kind of a season, and while UCSB sits at 8-0, there are 4 teams that don’t want it to stay that way for long. Next weekend looks to be interesting, as we will see each team again, as well as visiting Lindenwood University, who is bringing both their Division I and Division 3 teams to Huntington Beach, CA. See you there!