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The UCSB men’s club ice hockey team returned to its home ice in Oxnard this past weekend with a loss against visiting Sacramento State on Saturday and a 5-5 tie against Santa Clara University on Sunday.
On Saturday, the Gauchos fell 9-5 to Sacramento State in a game that was tight until the Hornets pulled away in the third period.
“It was back and forth in the first two periods,” senior center Travis Noe said. “Both teams were generating chances and competing.”
A goal by Noe just 49 seconds into the game put the Gauchos ahead early. The teams traded markers from there, with Nick Snyder and Sean McKenney getting on the board for the home side, before Noe scored again to put the Gauchos up 4-3 at 10:04 of the second period.
The turning point was a major penalty given to UCSB senior left wing Mitch Loge for a hit to the head at 16:27, which gave the Hornets a chance to get back in the game. They didn’t score before the intermission, but came back for the third frame fired up and netted a power play goal just 30 seconds into the final period before rattling off five more unanswered goals.
“We played really well in the first two periods off momentum and intensity that they stole from us in the third,” Noe said.
Noe completed his hat-trick with a goal at 16:34 in the third period.
Sunday’s game against Santa Clara was a similar affair, but a strong third period effort from the Gauchos ensured a better, albeit still disappointing, result.
The Gauchos again got on the board first with Sam Fetter’s first goal of the season before the teams traded goals through the second period. Snyder converted his second goal of the weekend and Paul Norick scoring his first of the year.
Two Bronco goals less than three minutes apart put the Gauchos back on their heels and they went into the locker room at intermission down 4-3. At that point, Coach Gabe Mosse gave a spirited speech, and the Gauchos flipped a switch.
“We got fired up in the locker room,” Noe said. “We really took control of the game in the third.”
Despite tallying 27 shots in the final frame, including plenty of glorious scoring chances, the Gauchos only managed two goals to Santa Clara’s one and were forced to settle for a 5-5 tie.
“We were creating the chances and got the momentum going but just weren’t able to put the game winner home,” Noe said.
Missed opportunities were a theme of the weekend. Between the two games, the Gauchos were afforded 13 power play opportunities, but failed to capitalize on the advantages.
Still, there’s reason for optimism. The Gauchos left nothing on the ice in the third period on Sunday and will be looking to build off that effort.
“The goal for us is that each game we play should be our best hockey as a team,” Coach Matt Snyder said after the weekend. “We are starting to play as a team and everything is starting to click.”
The Gauchos visit UCLA Nov. 4 with match time to be decided before returning home to face off against Chapman University in Oxnard Nov. 5 at 6:30 p.m.