The University of Washington Huskies club hockey team returned home from a rusty Spokane road trip the previous weekend seeking their first non-conference win of the season. What better way to do that with a clean sweep of the Western Washington University Vikings at Olympicview Arena in Mountlake Terrace. There was lots of scoring from the Huskies, heavy hitting from the Vikings, stellar goaltending from both sides of the ice especially from the goal posts and crossbar, and an overtime winner to end it on Halloween night.
Washington 7, Western Washington 2 (Friday)
Tavin Jackson added an assist to continue leading the team in scoring (10-10-20) but his actions during the third period cost him to play the next night as the Huskies earned their first non-conference win of the year.
With the Huskies already in full control at 6-2 with 9:22 remaining in the contest, Jackson got into it with the Vikings' DJ Wojcek behind the WWU net after Vikings goaltender Liam Elio covered the puck at the edge of the crease. As soon as the whistle blew, both players threw punches with their helmets and gloves flying. Once the players settled down, both were given five-minute fighting majors and - because the incidents occurred within the final ten minutes of the game - automatic game disqualifications handed out by referee Ian Jendro.
Husky goaltender James Feldman, in only his second game appearance of the season, was in full control throughout the evening as he stopped 16 of 18 shots for the win. Feldman improved his record to 2-0-0 on the season. WWU's only goal scorers came in the second and third period with Logan Anderson and Derek Binder, respectively.
It took the Huskies over 26 minutes to score the game's first five goals on Elio, who suffered his first loss of the season after saving 29 of 36 shots. Among the goal scorers was Jordan Fitzgibbon, who appeared in his home debut after playing his first game on October 23rd against Washington State University. Fitzgibbon's first goal of his career came with 8:38 left in the first period with the Huskies already up 3-0. That goal was enough to be the game-winning goal. He would also add on another goal midway through the second period extending the Husky lead to 6-1.
"I guess it was just a relief to get the monkey off my back and feel like I'm contributing to the team more," said Fitzgibbon, who was playing his third game of his career on Friday night.
Washington 7, Western Washington 6 (Overtime - Saturday)
High intensity drama built up throughout the evening as the Vikings went to the locker room up 2-0 after the first period as Jeff Miles started in goal for the Huskies after taking the night off.
"They were both passes right across the middle, and I mean honestly the second one was a little bit of my fault," said Miles, elaborating on the Vikings scoring the first two goals of the game off of him. "I didn't get down quick enough and I just had trouble just seeing it. But I mean honestly, we were just kind of chaotic. I don't know, we started panicking sometimes on defense and that was the main thing."
But Washington decided to turn things around.
JD White would start the scoring for the Huskies cutting the deficit in half at 2-1, but Joe Glithero extended the Vikings lead to 3-1. White would score off a Vikings player stick ricocheting past Elio to cut the deficit to 3-2. Then Kevin Sigler would score back-to-back goals for the Huskies - his first two in a UW uniform - within 4:36 apart giving the Huskies their first lead of the night at 4-3. But Billy Holbrook would tie it up with 2:30 left in the period with both teams back in the locker room tied at 4.
The third period almost secured it for the Vikings. After an Andrew Liebel goal that gave WWU a 5-4 advantage, Huskies forward Ryan Jaromin was sent to the penalty box for hooking, setting up the late power play goal that went unassisted for Logan Anderson giving the Vikings a 6-4 lead with 13:21 remaining in regulation.
"I knew there was just a little bit of time left in the game," said Jaromin, referring to the power play goal by Anderson. "But Matt (Cleeton, Huskies head coach) had talked to us before the game. He was telling us to keep going and play it to the end of the game. We wanted to get a full 60 minutes in tonight. We just had to keep going until that last buzzer went."
Fitzgibbon would tally his third goal of the weekend making the game closer at 6-5. With Miles still in the net, the Huskies kept the Vikings play in their own zone and with 1:48 remaining in regulation, Alex Black was on the far side near the corner and hesitated to either shoot it or pass it. Instead of shooting, he saw Jaromin near the crease. Jaromin paid back his teammates with the game-tying goal.
"I just didn't think I really had the angle on the shot," said Black. "I saw Jaromin going back door. I was just hoping it wasn't too ambitious of a pass."
"Yeah, it was definitely a good pass from Blackie," said Jaromin. "I was just trying to cut down and I was hoping to get a rebound or something like that. It was a good pass by Blackie and it just kinda lined up perfectly."
The Vikings would hurt themselves even more when Brett Baker went to the sin bin for high sticking with one minute left. Western Washington would carry their penalty kill into overtime. And with three seconds left on the power play, Black, who had been roughed up physically since the Oregon series, slowly approached the goal line from the right wing side in the attack zone. Without hesitation, he started slowly creeping up towards the goal line, but instead of shooting from the aforementioned angle, he crept up towards the net instead, deked a couple of times, and went lower left side past Elio for the game-winner.
Before that goal, Black was expecting pressure from the Vikings but saw a different picture once he got crossed the blueline.
"I was kind of expecting their 'D' to like step out on me or something," said Black, who had an ice pack on his left shoulder still suffering from a hit he took from an Oregon Ducks player in the 1-1 tie back on October 16th. "I was looking in the middle, look for like someone back door. Their 'D' just didn't come out on me so I kind of went for it."
Jaromin's goal was his sixth on the season; he now has 12 points.
"It was good to tie that up (at 6-6) and then they ended up taking the penalty there to go into overtime," said Jaromin. "We were able to pull off the 'W'."
Black, whose game-winning goal was his second of the season, and has eight goals overall, insists that their is room for improvment heading into the next weekend series at home against the Brigham Young University Cougars, which starts on Friday. "I mean, I didn't think we played very well overall, but it was definitely big to play well in the third (period) and come back. We've had a few games like that where we can't quite finish it...just feels good to win."
Miles felt that his teammates possessed the puck a lot better than WWU despite the Huskies down 2-0 after the first period, and being tied at 4-4 after 40 minutes.
"Regardless of how much pressure we could put on them, if we are not up on the scoreboard by the end of the period, it doesn't matter."
Up Next: Brigham Young University Cougars
Washington goes into the weekend with a 6-4-1 mark against a Cougar team who were smothered by the University of Utah Utes on Friday night by a 17-3 margin, and then being outlasted by the Utah State Aggies on Saturday in North Logan, Utah. The Cougars are 2-10-0 and will play the Idaho State University Bengals in Spokane on Thursday night before heading into Seattle for the two-game weekend series with the Huskies.
This will be the final set of home games for the 2015 calendar year; after this weekend, the Huskies will not be playing on home ice again until January 8th and 9th against the Pac-8 opponent, UCLA Bruins.
Game 1 - Friday 9 pm; Game 2 - Saturday 8:30 pm
*Huskies Road Series at Portland State Moved to a Saturday-Sunday Schedule
The Huskies weekend road series with the Portland State University Vikings will have some tweaks within the scheduling. The game slated for Saturday November 21st at 8 pm inside the Portland Memorial Coliseum will remain unchanged. However, the original opening game that was slated for Friday November 20th has been moved to Sunday November 22nd at 11 am. Both games will be played at the Coliseum. Originally the game on the 20th was supposed to have been at the Coliseum. However, PSU students scheduling the game did not realize that their scheduled 8 pm game would conflict with the Portland Winterhawks' Western Hockey League game that is also playing at the Coliseum. The Winterhawks could not move next door to the Moda Center because the National Basketball Association's Portland Trail Blazers are also playing there that night. Portland State then scheduled the first game to nearby Vancouver, Washington's Mountain View Ice Arena just a couple of weeks ago and now that site for the series with the Huskies has now been scrapped.