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SJSU 10, Weber State 4 - The Spartans Fend off Feisty Wildcats for 7th Straight Win

By A. Sheldon

I’m reminded of a story regarding an on-ice incident concerning “Terrible” Ted Lindsay of the Detroit Red Wings famed production line. During a non-contact old-timers match, Lindsay cross-checked Pierre Pilote and drove him to the ice. Typical of “Terrible,” he promptly fought the 2-minute minor and was slapped with 10 for his ornery efforts. A frustrated Lindsay then turned to the referee and said “I’m gonna run this stick right through you!” The ref replied, “No you won’t … I’m looking at you.”

Midway through the final period of Saturday night’s match between the San Jose State Spartans and Weber State Wildcats, the WSU captain cross-checked SJSU’s captain Ray Kellam in the back of the neck, knocking the 5’9” forward to the ice.

The rowdy Logitech Ice Center crowd fell silent during the few minutes that elapsed before Kellam was able to regain his feet and skate back to the bench - apparently unharmed, but obviously shaken. The referees immediately ejected the Wildcat’s captain from the game – and as he exited the ice, San Jose supporters erupted into a frenzy of deafening jeers.

It would be the second time a Weber State skater was shown the door, providing plenty of time to cool off with a long hot shower. With 2:27 remaining in the opening stanza, the first DQ was assessed to #17 on the Wildcat roster. He was thrown out following the Spartans 5th goal, registered by rookie Skyler Yu with SJSU on the man advantage. Reminiscent of the 2004 Stanley Cup Finals when the Flame’s Jarome Iginla emphatically applauded the supposed penalty-drawing “acting” episode displayed by Vincent Lecavalier of the Lightning, the Wildcat coach put forth his own mock display of celebration after Yu’s tally –which coincidentally would stand as the game-winning goal.

The WSU club was obviously aggravated by the Spartans early scoring assault - the home team netting 4 goals in just 4 minutes with SJSU forward Jon Barney being the first of 10 Spartans to score at just 1:08 of the match. SJSU’s Kelly Spain, Gabe Sackman and Ray Kellam would all get on the board before the Wildcats managed back-to-back goals when Mitchell Esaki and Jared Smedley beat Spartan netminder Ryan Lowe at 11:42 and 12:54 of the first.

In the second period, the Spartan offense waited till 7:01 before D-man Nate Panek ripped a shot from the bottom of the circle, which found the inside corner of the net.

A few altercations followed, with a number of Spartans facing off against Wildcats, exchanging pushes and shoves – with the oft composed Jon Barney taking a stifled jab to the face, which may have resulted in a nose bleed.

When play resumed, SJSU forward Tommy Lee found the back of the net by shelving the puck past the stick of the Wildcat netminder with 6:26 left to play in the second.

With Barney back out on the ice, the crowd chanted for the punishing power forward to exact revenge in a manner they all love to see (and hear). Barney soon delivered with a 2-for-1 bone-crunching backcheck on 2 Wildcats.

On yet another San Jose State powerplay and with control of the puck, goalie Ryan Lowe rushed to the bench for the extra attacker. Veteran forward Max Ramsey would be the next Spartan to garner a goal, when he tapped in a loose puck stationed in front of the open net with 2 minutes left on the clock. The Spartans would take a commanding 8-2 lead going into the final frame.

The momentum temporarily flipped in favor of the visiting squad when WSU took early control of the third. The Spartans were unable to skate the puck out of their zone and an attempted clear hit the referee’s back, keeping the Wildcats on the attack. Jared Smedley took advantage of a scramble in the crease by notching his second goal of the night at 2:29.

Less than 5 minutes later, WSU’s Michael Jordan cut the SJSU lead down to 4 when his shot from the near side circle somehow managed to slip under Lowe’s right pad.

With 10:27 remaining in the game, Spartan defenseman Logan Martinez lost the handle on the puck inside the neutral zone, which was quickly picked off by a Wildcat posed for the breakaway.

For Sharks fans in attendance, the play could have conjured up painful memories of the Western Conference Finals Game 5 breakaway by Jarome Iginla, when he intercepted Alex Korolyuk’s weak pass at the blue line and walked in on Evengi Nabokov for the Flame’s first of 3 unanswered goals.

However, SJSU netminder Ryan Lowe kept his cool and waited for the Wildcat to make the first move – the skater drew close and tried to chip the puck into the cage. His effort was thwarted when Lowe was able to deflect the shot into the corner boards for the biggest save of the night.

San Jose State’s Adam Dekeyrl and Sean Scarbrough would round out the Spartans scoring frenzy at 11:04 and 18:13 of the third stanza, providing SJSU with their second double-digit victory in as many nights. The Spartans also nearly doubled the Wildcats shots-on-goal with the final count 44-27. Though the Wildcats tried to turn the ACHA club contest into a brawl worthy of “Fight Night” at the Tank, the San Jose State squad kept their heads, despite the opposition trying to knock them off.

Controlled aggression is the key and SJSU is going to need plenty when they encounter Utah State, Brigham Young and a vengeful Weber State University at their home ice in Utah at the end of the month.