Olympicview Arena was rocking during the weekend as the Washington Huskies began their 2015-2016 American Collegiate Hockey Association Division 2 & Pacific-8 Conference season with a clean sweep of their intra-state rivals Washington State Cougars. Alternate captain Alex Black was the major contributor on the scoring side notching up six points (3 goals & assists, each), Troy Gasser found the back of the net twice along with three assists while several Huskies players, including some playing their first ever collegiate game, earning multiple points as Washington outscored the Cougars 20-8 in the weekend's first two games.
Washington 8, Washington State 2 (Friday)
J.D. White scored the Huskies' first two goals, as did Black whose goals both came on the power play as Washington played a chippy and physical WSU team that committed 71 minutes of penalties on 15 infractions, including three Cougar players being sent to the showers via game misconducts. Mason Friedman and Eli Dingels, respectively, scored their first goals as Huskies; Friedman's goal proved to be the game winner. Hiron Redman and Kai Wilkens were the lone Cougar goal scorers.
Goaltender Jeff Miles showed his goaltending skills like if he was trying out for the National Hockey League as he performed one spectacular save after throughout the evening. The San Diego-area native stopped 30 shots earn his first collegiate win, while Zach Stewart was getting a beat down in the crease stopping 35 shots to fall to 0-3 on the season.
The Huskies outshot the Cougars throughout the game 43-32.
The Huskies converted on 3 of 9 on the power play and were able to kill all eight opportunities for the Cougars.
Washington 12, Washington State 6 (Saturday)
James Feldman took over the goaltending duties for Saturday night's game, and after the Huskies jumped out to a 4-1 lead, the Cougars played the best hockey of the season so far....all in just the second period. Unfortunately for WSU, it stopped after the second period. Feldman was peppered with four goals in that period as WSU cut the deficit down to two goals at 7-5 going into the third period. The on-ice discipline deteriorated from there as the Cougars.
Seven third-period penalties - three by WSU's Dan Sosa at the 3:43 mark which included an automatic game misconduct - and a five-goal period by UW drained the momentum out of the Cougars as Washington was close to 50% on the power play (6 of 13). One of those power play goals was by Ryan Jaromin. Like Friedman from the previous night, not only was it his first goal but it was also the game winner.
Two other players scored first goal as members of the Huskies.
Tavin Jackson got his first goal in the second period off from Josh McGrew. "I was definitely nervous coming into this game," said Jackson, who also scored on the power play in the third period. "I got a couple of assists in the first game and definitely wanted to come out and score one, so it was pretty big."
Devin Garg, who was shaken up following a slight ankle injury at the end of training camp the previous weekend, also scored his first goal into his young career. The speedy freshman now calling the Portland, Oregon-area his home earned another goal early in the third period.
A scary moment midway through the third period when Cougar left-winger Chris McCormick was chasing the puck down the right wing side of the Husky net with Husky defenseman Troy Gasser to beat out with what could have been an icing call. Gasser slammed hard into the boards and was laying down on the ice on his back for close to a minute before regaining his composure and was back on his skates.
On releasing the jitters after scoring his first Husky / ACHA career goal:
"Oh yeah, for sure. I was definitely nervous coming into this game. I got a couple of assists in the first game and definitely wanted to come out and score one, so it was pretty big."
On WSU's physical presence towards him on the ice during this weekend:
"This weekend, I battled hard. It's been a good weekend, a lot of battles and some tough work down low."
On his focus towards the next set of games next weekend in Boise, Idaho vs. Boise State and Montana Tech:
"Just winning. Definitely winning. Winning is on mind, for sure. I love to win, so hopefully we have a successful weekend."
On his first career goal:
Oh it's awesome! I'm surprised it went in. It was a sigh of relief. I couldn't get one in the first game, so it's awesome that we were able to win.
On his speed on the ice against a very physical WSU team:
I would say just (kept) moving my feet. I would just get by them, just avoid the checks because they were hitting me. It's hard to play against teams like that, but we were able to overcome that.
On how his ankle is feeling one week after suffering an injury during the end of training camp:
Yeah, it's getting better. I just feel it also on the ice. It's (a matter of) re-injuring it, but hopefully it will get better before next weekend.
On his collision at the end boards during the third period:
Yeah, I think I just kind of jostling with him and I think it just lost my edging when I went in there pretty hard.
On his view after Tavin Jackson tapped in Gasser's shot in the third period:
That was pretty cool. Their forwards kind of split up, so I just took a nice shot on the ground, and he got a good tip. That was pretty sweet.
On looking ahead going into Boise in the next set of games vs. Boise State & Montana Tech
They're going to be really good. I'm not sure. I haven't seen them. We haven't played them (since the end of the 2013-2014 season). It should be fun with the people we have now. We can probably compete pretty well with them.