San Jose State opens seasonby A. Sheldon
The last time SJSU hosted Golden State rival USC, the Spartans slammed the Trojans with 15-4 and 7-1 decisions to end the 2004-05 regular season and solidify a berth into the ACHA DII national tournament in Detroit, Michigan. To kick off SJSU’s 2005-06 campaign, USC returned to the U.S.S Spartan fresh off a solid rout of UC Berkeley, out-scoring the Golden Bears by a total of 20-8 in two games.
With a couple of convincing victories already in the scorebook, the Trojans were set to spoil the Spartans home opener in front of a packed house of frenzied fans – but, SJSU was eager to sound the submarine horn, defeating USC by a score of 6-2. Just 28 seconds into the match, Spartan newcomer Alex Redmond wristed the puck toward Trojan netminder Matt Buttweiler to register the first shot in the match.
Nearly six minutes would elapse before SJSU keeper Ryan Lowe was finally forced to make a save. Midway through the period the Trojans would pick up the momentum, but it was Spartan veteran Mason Nave who found the back of the net with SJSU’s 12th shot of the night.
After 20 minutes of play, the two teams were tied up in a tight battle, with the Spartans holding on to a slight 13-11 advantage in the shots column. At 3:43 of the second period, SJSU captain Ray Kellam fed the puck to sophomore Sean Scarbrough who set up Redmond for the insurance tally.
Down 2-0, the Trojans were digging deep in the Spartans defensive zone – but a pass out front slipped passed the USC skaters stationed in the slot and onto the stick of Spartan Skyler Yu. Yu was off to the races and easily tapped the biscuit around the outstretched pads of Buttweiler for the goal.
At the end of the second frame the Trojans were out-shooting the Spartans 24-21, but had yet to solve Lowe.
USC would also carry nearly two minutes of a 5-on-3 man advantage into the third period, but were ultimately unable to convert despite two extra attackers. Roughly four minutes into the final frame, Spartan forward Kelly Spain grabbed the fourth goal of the contest on an SJSU powerplay.
With 12 minutes remaining on the clock, SJSU assistant captain Adam Dekeyral was called for slashing against USC freshman Matt Schnablegger. The rookie Trojan immediately collapsed to the ice following the infraction – clutching his left knee, but was soon able to return to his team’s bench with the help of the USC coaching staff and trainer.
This time the Trojans capitalized on the man-advantage as USC assistant captain Remy Bickoff tipped the puck past Lowe to end the all-region 1st team keeper’s bid for a perfect game. Scarbrough, the Spartans leading scorer last season with 30 goals, notched his first of the season at 14:05 to provide his team with a 5-1 lead. However, the Trojans answered back 20 seconds later on a slapper from the high slot that connected on Lowe’s glove side to draw within three.
Following the face-off at center ice, Spartan Jeff Mattern wrapped up with Trojan Ryan Farias near the neutral zone glass – clutching masks and throwing jabs, Mattern wrestled Farias to the ice, much to the delight of the fans.Farias would receive a DQ and exit the rink to a hail of boos – and would later be joined by another ejected teammate.
The final goal of the night was credited to Spartan Jon King, who cashed in the rebound off a shot by SJSU D-man Aaron Hernandez.
With less than two minutes remaining, USC managed to forge two separate breakaway opportunities, but Lowe stood solid between the pipes – stifling the Trojan attack to backstop the Spartans to their first victory of the new season.
Three Stars of the Game:
3. Alex Redmond
2. Ray Kellam
1. Sean Scarbrough
Game two is set for Saturday, 7pm at Logitech Ice Center.
[Note] Visit SJSUhockey.com for more information and photos.