Bears sweep the 2005 ‘Big Freeze’, Win 13-1 in Berkeley, 9-7 in Belmont

By A. Sheldon

Stanford Cal Berkeley Big freeze hockey

Only the Stanford Cardinal hockey team wore red… The bleachers at Berkeley Iceland were blanketed in a tapestry of blue and gold, as thousands of CAL fans tolerated the chilly air to cheer on their Golden Bears to a 13-1 rout of rival Stanford on Nov. 17. Roughly 150 members of the CAL band were on hand – consuming one-third of the home team stands. Nearly 80% of the ‘Pride of California’ was present said conductor Patrick Flynn.

“This has been one of our biggest turnouts, but it’s not that hard to motivate members to participate because it’s Big Game week,” Flynn said, referring to the 108th gridiron battle set for Saturday. The Cardinal were shown no mercy on or off the ice as band members relentlessly heckled the opposition.

When asked about the nature of their rink side ribbing, Flynn said the band presents more attitude at Iceland than they do at the football field.

“It’s been our hockey tradition,” Flynn said. “They fight, so we do too.” However, Stanford failed to answer the fans ‘fighting words’ as they surrendered the first of 13 CAL goals just eight seconds into the opening stanza.

Bears top-line center Sean Haq lost the opening face-off, but recovered the puck to quickly race it up the ice. Haq cut left in front of the crease, switched to his backhand and roofed the biscuit past Stanford goaltender John Straigis to pull the frenzied crowd right back onto their feet.

At just 3:50 of the contest, Bear blueliner Kiel Fitzgerald was credited with the game-winning goal on a shot fired from the point. CAL winger Doug Fraliegh grabbed his first at 5:03, tipping in a scoring attempt by teammate Dylan Taylor.

Haq initiated the Bears fourth goal, working the puck deep into the Stanford zone before dishing it off to CAL captain Amir Moazeni who found the back of the net. With 7:37 remaining on the clock, the referee finally found his whistle – hitting the home team with a 2:00 minute boarding penalty for the first infraction of the match.

The resulting powerplay saw Stanford captain Taku Ide author the Cardinal’s lone legit scoring chance with the man-advantage on a point-blank shot from the high slot that was swallowed up by Cal keeper Adam Meehan.

Back at even strength, CAL senior wing Taylor picked up another point by redirecting a feed from D-man Eric Bansal.

Down 5-0 midway through the initial stanza, Stanford called a time-out to try and regroup so they might attempt to settle the Golden Bears offensive onslaught.

Soon after the teams returned to action, Ide forged a breakaway opportunity, but his effort to stuff the puck low and inside was easily swept aside by Meehan.

The Japan-native tried once again to get his team on the board, as he one-timed a dish from behind CAL’s net – but Meehan remained solid in the paint and stoned the attempt.

Bear left wing Michael Thompson posted the final point of the period at 18:28 for CAL to carry a commanding 6-0 lead into the locker room after 20 minutes of play.

At the start of the second session Straigis remained on the Stanford bench, replaced by back-up Ira Renfrew from Skowhegan, Maine. The two teams exchanged multiple scoring opportunities and infractions for the first half of the session as CAL fans began to filter into the near-empty stands of enemy territory set across the ice, to echo cheers of “GO!” – “Bears!”

Despite the encouraging shouts in amplified stereo, it was the Cardinal that came alive as they finally solved Meehan with a powerplay goal posted by defenseman Evan Roberts at 10:12.

But the Bears ‘Gold Line’ of Haq, Moazeni and Chris Moulton answered the Stanford tally two minutes later to retake a six-goal advantage, courtesy of assistant captain Moulton.

CAL’s Taylor made it 8-1 with his second of the night by capitalizing on a Cardinal turnover deep in their defensive zone. Thompson also sealed a deuce in the books at 16:00 of the second with helpers from Bryan Farris and Nicholas Kim.

The Golden Bears, who had been held to two or less goals a staggering 12 times this season, lit the lamp four more times in the final frame. The last goal at 17:33 of the third was grabbed by the CAL captain, who tapped in his own rebound to notch lucky number 13 for the Bears to close out their first home victory of the 2005-06 campaign – inciting the ecstatic fans to filter down onto the slippery Olympic-sized sheet of ice to celebrate in grand Big Freeze fashion.

On Nov. 12, the Golden Bears nearly toppled current Pac-8 leaders USC in a tight 2-1 battle that saw the Trojans post the game-winner with only eight minutes remaining in the contest.

CAL had authored a 1-0 lead at 6:30 of the game on a play set up by Haq behind the USC net, who found rookie D-man Kiel Fitzgerald stationed out front.

At the midpoint of the first period, the Bears managed to kill a lengthy five-on-three Trojan powerplay while nearly capturing a shorthanded tally.CAL center Matt Macleod beat USC keeper Mickey Meyer, but not the post.Moazeni said if Macleod had connected with the shot, CAL would have been in the driver’s seat.

“Score that – and the momentum goes toward us,” Moazeni said. In the second period, USC evened the score at one-apiece after CAL failed to clear the zone by coughing up the biscuit just a few feet in front of Meehan.

Senior forward Brandon Krikorian was credited with the equalizer. The Trojans tallied the go-ahead goal late in the final stanza after Meehan stacked the pads to block the initial shot, but was unable to turn away the second effort from freshman blueliner Brent Ozaki. USC’s Jonny Baron and assistant captain Remy Bickhoff picked up the helpers on the decisive tally.

The Golden Bears 19-year old captain said the game was well played overall.“Adam (Meehan) kept us in that game by far,” Moazeni said. “It’s unfortunate someone’s got to lose, especially in the third like that.” CAL senior blueliner James Yim said there were a few defensive lapses, such as leaving the backdoor open - but there were also plenty of good scoring chances posted against their Pac-8 nemesis. “It was a lot closer than yesterday,” Yim said. “But a win is of course better than a loss.”

It was CAL’s second loss to USC in as many nights as they were handed a 6-2 losing decision on Nov. 11, which followed a 5-2 defeat at the hands of eighth-ranked Weber State University on Nov. 10.

The 5-14-0 Golden Bears take the Thanksgiving holiday weekend off before returning to action at Berkeley Iceland on Thursday, December 1 as they host the University of Washington at 10:45pm.


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