Fans packed the Rec Cen II last Saturday while the UCSB roller hockey team hosted a league tournament, as they are the only team whose campus has a rink suitable for the sport.
“We travel most of the time, so to be home was amazing,” junior goalie Sean Seal said. “The fan support was awesome. We had tons of friends and students pounding on the glass and chanting, even cheering after we lost against [Cal Poly].”
Thanks to the new rink built in the Rec Cen Expansion, UCSB and four other Western Collegiate Roller Hockey League (WCRHL) teams battled in a total of 10 games this weekend. Only the second of five season tournaments, UCSB went 2-2 on Saturday, posting a record of 4-2-1 overall.
The Gauchos came out strong in their first game of the day against Chapman University. The offense fired on all cylinders, blasting in seven goals against the Panthers, shutting out Chapman 7-0. The team kept the shutout intact despite a four on two disadvantage during the third period.
“The first goal of the tournament was the most exciting,” junior forward Rick Comrie said. “It was a team effort and everyone was involved. It was three quick passes and a score.”
After a strong home opener, UCSB faced Irvine, who maintained a steady lead until the third period. With a few minutes left in the game, senior forward Evan Markgraf scored his most impressive goal of the tournament to tie Irvine, a slap-shot one-timer on the power play. Then, senior defenseman Greg Snelling shot the winning goal after an assist by senior defenseman Derek Kokubun, leading Santa Barbara to a 7-6 victory.
“UCI was a really good game, we were down most of the game, but we scored with 28 seconds left in the third period,” Seal said.
Penalties proved hazardous in UCSB’s next two games, with six against San Bernardino and nine against Cal Poly. Capitalizing on the penalties, San Bernardino took the lead in the third period, winning 4-3.
“All day there was the reoccurring theme of penalties, the referees were calling a lot on us, but they always seemed to be marginal penalties, especially in the SLO game,” Seal said. “We had a shot to win; it was a close game.”
Playing shorthanded for most of the game against Cal Poly, UCSB managed two goals, losing by one to the Mustangs. However, Comrie felt that UCSB had been out-skated by Cal Poly.
“We’re rivals and they wanted the upset,” Comrie said. “We wanted it too, but they wanted it more and it showed in the score.”
With the next tournament in two weeks, the team plans to work on its discipline, but has improved its offense immensely since last season. Scoring on the team has been more evenly spread with all three team lines contributing each game.
UCSB roller hockey will have one more tournament this quarter, Nov. 19 at Upland[[ok]], and two tournaments during winter quarter.