The College of the Canyons Cougars hockey club took to the ice once again last weekend, this time at home for a tough four game series against outstanding ACHA Division II and III opponents in search of a Pacific Regional Birth.
Game one of the weekend came against the number 4 ranked team in the American Collegiate Hockey Associations Division II Western Region in Northern Arizona University. Canyons came in to the match up with a 3-1 record against the NAU DIII squad, as well as a record of 5-2 against schools from Arizona. The Cougars would be looking for a signature win against a very tough opponent to put their mark on the season and get their names into the minds of the voters. The game was one of slow pace through most of the first period as both teams seemed content to make the other team make a mistake. It was NAU that blinked first as COC was able to score with 2:20 to go on a goal by Brian Voogt, the team’s leading scorer and former All-American. Voogt would add another with 30 seconds remaining in the period to give the Cougars a 2-0 lead. That would only last 29 seconds as Vinny Eck of the Ice Jacks scored a shorthanded goal with one second left on the clock to make it 2-1. Canyons controlled the second scoring 2 unanswered goals, one from Tommy Pang the other from Chris Remsburg, to give the Cougars a commanding 4-1 lead, which they never looked back from. The teams traded goals in the 3rd period, 2 each, giving the Cougars a dominating 6-3 victory and creating momentum for the rest of the weekend.
That momentum would be stopped abruptly on Friday night by the ACHA DIII Pacific Regions number 2 ranked Colorado State University Rams on the back of strong goaltending from former Fresno Monster (Western States Hockey League), Marcus Harbison. Harbison stood on his head allowing only 3 goals on 45 shots by College of the Canyons making big save after big save in a game that saw neither team play much defense. Harbison was put to work early as COC was given the first five power-play opportunities of the game, however Harbison did not allow them to score on a single one and CSU was able to come away with a commanding 4-1 lead after 2 periods. COC made the game close in the third with a goal with 7:21 remaining, but CSU was able to tally a goal a little over two minutes later giving them a 5-2 lead, eventually holding on for the victory 5-3.
The Rams and Cougars squared off again on Saturday night; however this game looked very different from the night before. Canyons came out hot with 2 two quick tallies on goals by Kris Rogers and Brian Voogt before the 10 minute mark of the first giving the Cougars a 2-0 lead. Things got a little harry for the Cougars late in the first as they once allowed a late period goal, this time with two seconds remaining, giving them a 2-1 lead heading into the locker room. The Cougars were able to regroup during the break and came out in the second just as strong as they did in the first, dominating the majority of the period and getting 3 goals, two from Trevor Tracy and one from Cody Nieuwenhuis, taking a 5-2 lead into the second period intermission. CSU came out strong in the third, netting two goals to make it 5-4, but COC was able to regain a two goal lead on a hat trick goal by Trevor Tracy to ice the game and take a 6-4 victory over the number 2 ranked ACHA DIII Pacific Region club from Colorado.
The final game of the weekend was a Sunday morning matchup, starting at 11AM, against San Jose State University, who took two games from the Cougars the weekend before in San Jose. This game was fast from the start as both teams came out quick, trading two goals each in the first period. Brian Voogt for the Cougars started the scoring with 14:27 remaining in the first. SJSU got 2 goals within two minutes of one another from Sam Shayesteh and Christian DeJesus to take a 2-1 lead, the first coming less than a minute after the Cougars goal. Corry Stevens made it 2 all with 2:19 remaining in the first giving Canyons momentum going into the second. However SJSU would be able to cease the momentum completely in the second scoring 4 goals in the period, by Ian Seidl, Sam Cimino, Mason Console, and John Germaine. COC was only able to tally one marker, a goal by Trevor Tracy, to make the score at the end of two 6-3 in favor of San Jose State University. The third saw another complete shift of momentum as Canyons was able to score three unanswered in the period on Trevor Tracy’s second of the game and Corry Stevens 2nd and 3rd, including the game tying goal on a major power play with 5 seconds remaining in the game, to send the game to overtime. Canyons took the major power play into overtime, but were unable to capitalize as they saw strong one time chances by Zach Flaschner and Ben Conroy stopped by SJSU net minder Mario Retana. The Cougars best chance of the period came with just seconds remaining on the major power play as captain Brian Voogt skated down the left wing and took a wrist shot from the top of the left circle that beat Retana, but rang clean off the cross-bar keeping the Spartans alive. SJSU was able to get the puck down to the Canyons end after the Voogt chance and on a broken play they were able to end it with nine seconds remaining in overtime. The puck was battled for to the left of Taiyoh London, where SJSU forward Nicholas Matejovsky was able play the puck to the high slot where Salvatore Barranco picked up the loose puck and took a shot that looked to be going wide but bounced off teammate and leading scorer Sam Cimino to beat London and give the Spartans the victory.
After the weekend COC was able to move up from number 7 in the Pacific Region Rankings to number 5. COC will play Colorado University in a two game set starting tonight at Ice Station Valencia. I will have the call for you live on the Black Dog Enterprises website at 9:15PM.
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