It was homecoming weekend at the University of Washington and, with the Saturday night home football game taking place at Husky Stadium, the Huskies and University of Oregon Ducks' hockey clubs pushed their opener of their annual I-5 Cup series to a late Thursday night last week at Olympicview Arena in Mountlake Terrace.
It was in the same arena that the Ducks secured their sixth I-5 Cup last January, taking the first three games of the annual series last season. Both clubs featured new goaltenders in Jeff Miles for Washington and Jackson Howery for Oregon. There were surprises...and then there were the unexpected fold of events.
Game 1 - Washington 13, Oregon 6
The Ducks would take the lead twice - both coming via first period goals - at 1-0 and 2-1, before the Huskies started their scoring tear. After trailing 2-1 midway through the first period, Washington would score three unanswered goals. Troy Gasser would tie it up at two before Mason Friedman would score two consecutive goals to give Washington the 4-2 lead. But Oregon would score to close out the period trailing the Huskies 4-3. Washington outshot Oregon 21-6.
After Tavin Jackson's goal extended the Huskies lead back up to two at 5-3, Shott would score again and the Ducks would keep it close at 5-4. But the Ducks would get shot down for the rest of the night as Washington would score six unanswered goals in the second period would be scored by six different Husky players - J.D. White, Gasser, Devin Garg, Keenan Smith, Tyler Jennings, and Ryan Jaromin - within 7:09 of each other and pushed up their lead to 11-4 before Nick Sciabarra would score for Oregon and the Huskies went into the locker room up 11-5, outshooting 20-8 in the period, 41-14 after 40 minutes. Gasser's second power play goal of the night proved to be the game winner. He would finish the night with six points (adding two more assists in the third period).
Bradyn Kawcak and Cory Tung would see their first goals scored on the season, respectively, and would seal the scoring for the Huskies in the third period while Oregon's Zach Foss finished up scoring the game's final goal as the Huskies pummeled the Ducks to take the 1-0 series lead in the I-5 Cup. Washington outshot Oregon in the period, 19-9, and would finish dominating them the entire night, 60-23.
Huskies' goaltender Miles earned his third win of the season (3-2-0-0), while Howery took in his first defeat for the Ducks (2-1-0-0).
Washington would dominate with the man-advantage situations converting on 6 for 9 (66.6%), while Oregon was 2 for 4 (50%).
Game 2 - Oregon 1, Washington 1 (Overtime)
In one of the most bizarre regulation endings - and even the way overtime did, too - Joseph Hoover beat out Miles to score the Ducks only goal with eight-tenths of a second remaining in regulation as the Ducks. With about 9 seconds left, the Huskies cleared the puck out into the neutral zone after Howery was pulled to the bench and Michael Luke departed the penalty box after serving his roughing minor, Hoover got the puck over the blue line, took his slap shot from the right wing and beat out Miles just in time before horn sounded to what would have ended the game. To make matters worse, Gasser would be sent to the box for cross checking immediately following that goal and Oregon put themselves on the power play heading into overtime.
Washington would kill off that penalty. Oregon's Shott went to the box as well for slashing with 55 seconds left but time would run out. As if everyone would anticipate the shootout, it never happened. On-ice game officials, according to multiple sources who were trying to get feedback at ice level, said that ACHA rules do not recognize shootouts in team records, especially if it's a conference game. Therefore, Washington carries over into Eugene coming up in late January with a 1-0-1 record in the I-5 Cup series. A Husky win in any of those two games would secure the Cup for the 10th time in club hockey history.
Ryan Jaromin was the other goal scorer with Jennings and White earning the assist at 13:36 of the second period for Washington.
Miles would stop 29 of 30 shots, as Washington's record goes to 3-2-1 (3-0-1 Pac-8) and head out on the road to Spokane for three beginning on Thursday with its lone non-conference matchup with Gonzaga, while the other two would resume conference play with Washington State. All three games will be played at Spokane's Eagles Ice-A-rena.
Howery stopped 44-of-45 shots for Oregon (2-1-1).