Club Hockey’s Playoff Spot Not on Ice Yet

    UCSD’s club ice hockey team is looking to improve upon a
    mediocre start to the season, including a 5-4 overall record, in order to earn
    a playoff berth and make a push to the national championships when their
    schedule continues after winter break.

    UCSD’s club ice hockey team is depending on its young players to turn things around in the second half of the season in order to earn a postseason spot and chance to win a national championship. (Will Parson/Guardian file)

    UCSD’s latest game was a 7-4 road loss to UC Irvine on Nov.
    30, during which the Tritons got off to a bad start and allowed three early
    goals in the first period. The Tritons managed to take one of those goals back
    with a score by freshman wing Stephen Lockwood at the end of the first period.

    The Tritons picked up the pace in the second period as
    junior wing Ken Yamashita scored two goals.

    “We were feeling really positive going into the third period
    with the score 5-4,” Yamashita said.

    The Tritons’ fortunes turned in the third period, as the
    Anteaters outscored them 2-0 to seal the win. Penalty troubles hurt the Tritons
    in their comeback attempt and ultimately contributed to the loss.

    “We got out to a bad start in the game,” junior wing Alex
    Azuma said. “We were disorganized in the beginning and weren’t playing
    cohesively. We battled back but then had some unlucky calls that didn’t go our
    way near the end.”

    The Tritons have had some disappointments this season, which
    is to be expected from a team that has only one senior on its roster.

    “I think that we could be playing a lot better, but we have
    a pretty young team this year,” Yamashita said. “We only have one senior, and
    the majority of team is underclassman.”

    Even with their struggles, the Tritons have had success this
    season and their record, despite the loss to UC Irvine, is evidence of the
    team’s resilience. UCSD’s wins have come against Sacramento State University,
    Cal State Northridge, the University of Redlands and two against College of the
    Canyons.

    According to Azuma, UCSD’s 8-5 win over CSU Northridge on
    Oct. 13 was its greatest victory so far this season.

    “We played a consistent game in all three periods against
    CSU Northridge,” he said. “It was physical, hard-hitting game and we played
    aggressively on our zone defense.”

    The Tritons have a break before their next game on Jan. 18
    against Loyola Marymount University. UCSD will then take on the University of
    Redlands on Jan. 19, playing the Bulldogs for the second time this season.

    The Tritons will be looking for continued production from a
    few key players who have stepped up in the first half of this season. In
    addition to Yamashita, junior center Troy Miller and sophomore wing Kenny
    McCubbins have been key offensive players for UCSD. On defense, sophomore
    goaltender Ben Cohen has stepped up in his first season as the starting
    goaltender.

    “He’s definitely been a big factor in our games, stepping up
    and making really good plays,” Azuma said.

    UCSD has high expectations for the rest of the season,
    hoping to acquire a good position in the playoffs and a shot at the national
    championships.

    “I expect nothing less than winning all the way through the
    rest of the season,” Yamashita said. “We still have our toughest game against
    Northern Arizona and we could really boost our rankings if we win our games.”

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