Powerhouse Teams Split Thrilling Series
–By Karl Miller
If this series was truly an indication of how the Aztecs stack up against the other top teams in the West, then we’re in for an exciting season. Both games between SDSU and CSU, a perennially top ranked team in the West Region, were tight, back-and-forth affairs that were decided in the final minutes.
On Friday, in front of another energetic crowd, the night belonged to the Aztecs. The team was pummeled physically all game and fell behind 4-1 shortly after the second period began. But goaltender Alex Corbin subsequently transformed himself a brick wall of glory, stopping every shot he faced thereafter. Kevin Vaughan then scored a beautiful breakaway goal at 8:01, and a power play goal four minutes later to cut the deficit to one heading into the third period.
At 7:43 of the third, newcomer Eric Stelnick tied the game as he led an odd-man rush and blew a slapper by goaltender Corson Cramer from the right wing circle. The teams remained tied in a tense battle until the Aztecs were able to go on the power play late in the third. On the final second of that power play, and with 1:40 remaining in regulation, Dustin Holt took a pass from Eric Anderberg and drilled it toward the net. The puck pinballed off a few bodies and ended up on the stick freshman Travis Sevilla, who stuffed it in the net, and gave the Aztecs the victory.
On Saturday the roles were reversed. It was the Aztecs who started off with a quick 4-1 lead. They got goals from Sevilla (3), Janowski (4), Kevin Lapp (2), and rookie Justin Tutag (1) before Colorado State began a comeback of their own in the second period. With three goals in seven minutes, the Rams seized all of the momentum and tied the game heading into the third.
After Friday’s grueling contest, the teams were exhausted as they stepped out onto the ice to begin the third period. At about the halfway point, Rams freshman forward Connor Tamai scored, giving his club the go-ahead tally. The moment was deflating, but the Aztecs weren’t done.
After getting several scoring chances as time was winding down, one finally went in. With just 40 seconds to go, and goaltender Curkovic pulled, Kevin Vaughan went behind the net and fed the extra attacker Justin Tutag in the slot. Tutag buried his chance, capping off a four point afternoon for him, and sent the game to overtime in the process.
In the end, the game ended in the Rams’ favor. Tamai scored again on a somewhat unexpected and anti-climactic wrist shot from the right wing circle shortly after overtime began, handing the Aztecs their first loss of the season.
Though another sweep would have been sweet, the Aztecs can walk away from the weekend proud of themselves. By beating Colorado State once, and very nearly twice, they discovered that they’re able to beat any team in their region. Should they continue their improved play, they can be confident in knowing that competition in this year’s national tournament is within their grasp.
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The SDSU hockey team travels all over the region for practice and competitions. After the season, many graduating members of the team are considering using donate car USA to make charitable contributions. It's a great way to give back to the local San Diego community.