Cal Hockey off to a rough start

by A. Sheldon

The Cal Berkeley hockey squad was looking to open strong at home against UCLA after dropping two on the road to Pac-8 rival USC last weekend to kick off its 2005-06 campaign.

However, in front of a few hundred spectators at Berkeley Iceland, the Bruins handed the Golden Bears two more losing decisions on Friday and Saturday night – 8-2 and 4-2 respectively.

The weekend started off promising for the Bears as right wing Dylan Taylor registered the first goal at 4:30 of Friday night’s contest on an assist by Michael Thompson.

But the Bruins bounced back to collect seven straight goals before the Bears could net their second at 14:56 of the final frame on a powerplay goal by Cal blueliner Chris Dang.

With a solid 7-2 lead, UCLA’s top-line center Martin Galstyan grabbed a shorthanded tally to complete the hat trick when he snapped the puck past CAL’s new netminder Adam Meehan from the right side circle for the final goal of the night.

The Bruins killed the remaining 16 seconds of the Bears’ powerplay and stifled another man-advantage for the home team in the remaining minutes of the match to hold on to an 8-2 win.

On Saturday evening, UCLA struck first as Eric Allen connected on a feed from Galstyan – who, with a quick deke to shake off a Cal defenseman and gain the zone, flipped the puck to Allen for the quick 1-0 lead. Frustration was bubbling over on the Cal bench as players watched UCLA pepper their keeper with a flurry of shots, all within the first five minutes of the period.

Six minutes in, Cal’s best opportunity to net the equalizer came on a clean drop pass for the one-timer that resulted in a rebound set in the crease – but the Bears couldn’t bank the loose change.

It wasn’t until 16:26 that Cal’s Thompson and Taylor struck again to put the puck past UCLA backstop Adam Kubalski to draw even at 1-1 entering the second session.

On the powerplay the Bruins regained the lead on a goal by forward Ryan Samec, his second of the weekend. A few minutes later, the Bruins found insurance on a tap-in by Galstyan as Meehan was unable to locate the puck during a wild scramble in the Cal crease.

With less than a minute remaining on the clock, Cal’s Matt MacLeod pulled his team within one as Sean Haq dished the biscuit ahead to Chris Moulton who found MacLeod waiting by the backdoor with a wide open net. At the start of the third and trailing by a single goal, the Golden Bears dominated the Olympic-sized sheet of ice – producing a series of tic-tac-toe passing sequences to keep control of the puck and create numerous scoring opportunities.

But despite the newfound determination of the Bears, they were unable to capitalize on the momentum and instead found themselves down by two once more as Galstyan, a former USHL Sioux City Musketeer, again provided his team with a two-goal lead at 7:50.

A few more penalties were dished out to each team – including a bizarre miscall against Cal for having too many men on the ice after pulling their goalie – but neither squad could score before the final horn as the UCLA Bruins walked away with the 4-2 victory and series sweep.

This weekend, the Golden Bears travel north to face Washington State University twice before closing out the road trip against Eastern Washington University on Sunday.

UCLA is scheduled to play its home opener on Thursday as they host Crosstown Cup competitor USC.

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