The USS Spartan dive horn rarely rested.
Before the game commenced at Logitech Ice Center, the announcer solemnly asked for a moment of silence for Brigham Young University forward Jaxon Logan. Not everyone in attendance was aware of the circumstances that befell the Icecat family Friday night, but a hush quickly consumed the crowd.
Soon, word of Logan’s passing spread throughout the stands.
As the microphones crackled and hummed back to life, each team standing in a line at center ice, just as SJSU and BYU had eight days earlier, began tapping their sticks – the clacking of wood against ice reverberated throughout the North Rink, just as the first few notes of the National Anthem filled the air.
After Thursday’s 8-2 victory over Bay Area rival Cal-Berkeley, San Jose State captain Ray Kellam had said the team would continue playing as they had against the Icecats – to maintain that intensity level throughout the remainder of the season.
The captain and the Spartan squad would back those words with an 8-0 rout of BYU’s home town arch nemesis Utah State.
SJSU goalie Ryan Lowe said the last time the Spartans faced USU they were up 5-3 with ten minutes remaining before they were assessed a couple bad penalties late in the game and everything fell apart – with the Aggies pulling off a 6-5 overtime win in Utah.
“The last time we played these guys they said ‘You’ll never beat us’ and that ignited everyone’s energy and fire,” Lowe said. “Everyone just came out firing - the offense and defense.”
It was SJSU defenseman Logan Martinez who opened the USS Spartan flood gates at 4:25 after beating Aggie netminder Lain Adam low glove side with a soft shot from the far point.
With plenty of assists, but few goals attributing to his individual point total, Martinez said he was happy to knock one in.
“I passed it to (Nate) Panek and he passed it right back to me and I one-timed it. It wasn’t even a very good shot,” Martinez said. “I just kind of fluttered it and it went in.”
Soon the number of players on the ice quickly dwindled as three penalties were assessed in less than two minutes, allowing a four-on-three Spartan advantage at 6:22.
The Utah Aggies successfully killed the SJSU power play only to find themselves down a man once more with 7:44 remaining after Spartan forward Sean Scarbrough was hauled down on the breakaway.
SJSU was unable to convert on the man advantage, but they would get yet another chance after Utah’s Mike Lewandowski was dealt a goalie interference infraction.
USU registered the first major scoring opportunity when their penalty killing unit created a shorthanded rush that forced Lowe to make a quick save and deflect the puck into the corner boards.
However, San Jose State came right back and with eight seconds left on the power play, blueliner and team president Nate Panek fed the to puck to former Jr. Shark Jeff Mattern at the far boards to beat Adam and go up 2-0 before the break.
Martinez said he could tell the Utah squad wasn’t the same team they met back in late October.
“They were kind of sitting back and not really skating too hard on us,” Martinez said. “We all felt we were just going to destroy them after the first period.”
Four minutes into the middle session, SJSU D-man Andy Whiteside was sent to the sin bin to provide the Aggies with their second power play opportunity of the night.
The Aggies effort was easily thwarted, but they would earn a third chance with the extra skater after San Jose’s Paul Fuller was sent to the box on a crosschecking call.
Halfway into the power play USU magnified the pressure, maintained the zone and managed a screened shot that Lowe was able to drop and save.
With 8:39 left to play in the second period, Aggie Aaron Burrell was called for unsportsmanlike conduct after arguing with the referee. The penalty would cost his team as veteran forward Mason Nave dished the biscuit to Adam Dekeyral for the power play goal 39 seconds into the man advantage.
Down by three goals and with their third seed standing already in jeopardy after a 2-2 tie to Cal-Berkeley late Friday night, USU was desperate to solve Lowe. But the Spartan goalie was ‘like wall’ as the Utah forwards tried to thwack the puck from under Lowe and into the cage at 13:22 to no avail.
With 2:03 left on the clock, SJSU would find themselves on the short end of a five-on-four session as Lonny Lovins was sent to the penalty box after being called for roughing behind the play.
SJSU proved deadly shorthanded as new comer Aaron Hernandez gave the puck to Kellam for the breakout pass to Scarbrough and a shorthanded 5-hole tally to earn a 4-0 lead going into the final frame.
Panek was elated to be up by four goals with only 20 minutes left to play.
“These guys gave us such a great game the first time and they’re good every year so we were really surprised to get this much of a lead on them,” Panek said.
The final frame turned into a muck of heated verbal banter, face washes, clutching, grabbing, scrums, fisticuffs and disqualifications – but the penalty fest only fueled the Spartan fire as the home team doubled their goal count.
Roughly five minutes into the period and with each team sacrificing a player to the penalty box to provide 43 seconds of open four-on-four ice time, freshman blueliner Zach Glasow connected with his third goal of the 2004-2005 season.
During the 7-2 win over Palmer College the night before, Glasow said he had scored with a slap shot.
“(Tonight) it was with a wrist shot. Jeff (Mattern) was on the boards and made the pass for the shot,” Glasow said.
Two minutes later the Roller Hockey Line produced the Spartans’ sixth goal as Jon King dished the puck to Dekeyral flying up the right side boards and ripping a hard shot from the slash marks to sound the submarine dive horn.
Soon after, Utah defenseman Brandon Bachman-Lang was sent to the locker room, which resulted in San Jose State being awarded five minutes on the power play.
Just 30 seconds into the Bachman-Lang penalty, SJSU connected with their seventh goal as forward Mike Villalobos was able to maintain the zone to allow linemate Skyler Yu the chance to score.
The five-on-four continued until Mattern was called for interference and Lovins was assessed a crosschecking penalty with 9:57 left to play and 2:46 remaining on the initial 5-minute Aggie penalty.
With four minutes left in the match Utah was assessed two minutes for having too many men on the ice and Jordan Francom added an additional ten minutes after he was tossed out of the game for slapping the penalty box door with his stick.
SJSU capitalized on the power play with their eighth and final goal of the contest. Nave and Dekeyral tallied the helpers as Scarbrough registered his second goal going top shelf at 16:32 of the third.
Less than three minutes remaining on the clock and three different brawls broke out, which resulted in two more Aggies leaving the ice – one with his sweater pulled up over his shoulder pads.
As the seconds ticked off the clock all eyes were on SJSU netminder Ryan Lowe as the Spartans neared their first shutout of the season.
As the final horned sounded, the team rushed to greet Lowe in the paint to celebrate his perfect performance.
Lowe said he simply stuck to the fundamentals, turning away 23 shots on goal.
“I didn’t have to make any unbelievable saves. I just stayed in position, top of the crease, cut down the angles,” Lowe said. “I just had to make the routine saves – our defense and offense did the rest.”
He also added it was great to finally blank an opposing squad.
“This is the first shutout for San Jose State and it’s nice to get that monkey off our backs – for all the goalies,” Lowe said.
Panek said the rookies were finding their roles and the veterans were really stepping it up in the leadership position.
“This is my third year on the team and this is the best I’ve ever seen a State team play,” Panek said. “Everyone was contributing the way they had to.”
Panek said the huge win was exactly what the team needed heading into a two game road trip to Wyoming and Colorado to go up against the top two teams in the west - Colorado State and University of Colorado.
“To carry this much momentum into Colorado is huge - the best thing to happen to our team,” Panek said.
Click here for the SJSU-USU photo gallery. San Jose State is on the road as the team is scheduled to face 2nd ranked University of Colorado Friday night and the No.1 team in the west, Colorado State, on Saturday. Check the teams’ Web site for updates on scores: www.sjsuhockey.com.
No. 4 Spartans Deliver 8-0 Rout of No. 3 Aggies
By A. Sheldon