OAKLAND, CA - It was a big homecoming to the state of California for four members of the University of Washington Huskies - three via of the San Francisco Bay Area.
One of those players making a huge impact was Lucas Semkiw (SEM-que), who scored in the same rink that he played on in his junior hockey days as Washington prevailed to beat the University of California Golden Bears, 5-4, on Friday at the Oakland Ice Center.
Semkiw played a couple of seasons with the San Jose Jr. Sharks inside the two-rink ice complex located in the heart of Downtown Oakland. He also played under the Northern California High School Hockey League for San Jose’s Bellarmine Prep Bells. On Friday night, he wouldn’t leave town without impressing his family and friends.
With J.D. White serving a roughing minor midway through the first period and with the game tied at one, Semkiw stole a puck away from a Bears player down the left wing, approached the net and beat out Bears goaltender Kyle McAlister for the short-handed / unassisted goal, giving the Huskies a 2-1 lead. It would be Semkiw’s fourth goal on the season.
Tavin Jackson would tear up the ice once again putting up another multi-point night with all his points coming in via hat trick. His first goal would be the game’s first score at 3:29 of the opening period for the 1-0 lead but California’s Bryce Morisako tied it up before Semkiw helped regain the lead and the Huskies went into the locker room up 2-1 after one period.
The Golden Bears would score two more in the second period to take the lead 3-2, but the Huskies would come right back. After Graham Gustafson’s second consecutive penalty expired, Jackson would tie it up at four with his second of the night. But Husky defenseman Ryan Jaromin would give Washington the lead back just 45 seconds after Jackson’s goal at 4-3. Earlier in the period, Tyler Jennings attempted to score on the breakaway but was denied by McAlister with a breathtaking, sprawling save that nobody in the arena could imagine.
After Cal tied it up in the third at four, Jackson would secure the game-winner with the hat trick and the Huskies would hold on for the win.
Jeff Miles stopped 31 of 35 shots for the win; McAlister saved 28 of 33 shots to take the loss.
California 4, Washington 2 (Saturday)
Theo Haboucha’s goal midway through the third period proved to be the game-winner as the Golden Bears split their home weekend series with the Huskies. Jackson also scored for Washington giving him a four-goal weekend. But it was not enough for the UW squad as the Huskies committed five penalties – three in the first period – on the night. Washington was denied good scoring chances again by McAlister, whose 36 of 38 saves performance helped boost his record to 5-3-0-0.
California did make Miles do a lot of the work between the pipes. Despite taking the loss and dropping his season record to 5-6-1-0, he managed to stop a whopping 46 of 50 shots.
Devin Garg would help the Huskies get back in the game with a goal coming down the left wing side to beat McAlister at the 11:46 of the third before Bryce Morisako’s goal a little more than a minute later sealed the win for UC Berkeley.
HUSKY HOCKEY NOTES...
Bay Area Homecoming
Mason Friedman, Lucas Semkiw, and Cory Tung played in front of family and friends in Oakland this past weekend. Before arriving to Seattle to begin pursuing his degree in business, Semkiw played for the Jr. Sharks inside the Oakland Ice Center so the surroundings prior to last weekend’s games were familiar to him.
"I played for the Sharks all my life since (my) first year of Squirts," said Semkiw, who has been playing at the local rink for the past eight years before the season. "I never played out of this rink. I always played teams here that are from here like the Oakland Jr. Bears."
Semkiw's second period short-handed goal was the Huskies' first of this season in that situation.
Friedman, who grew up in nearby San Ramon, played under the Dublin, CA-based Tri-Valley Minor Hockey Association for several years moving from one division to another including at the high school level with the San Ramon Grizzlies before coming to Seattle. His parents, Mark and Sue, were on hand to see him in both games.
Tung grew up across the Bay in San Francisco. His parents, Hubert and Laura – and like many Husky player families – stays tuned in to each of his son’s games by listening to the game night audio webcasts. On Friday & Saturday, no audio webcast was necessary as seeing their son in his final season in a Husky uniform was a treat to watch. Cory is serving as one of three assistant team captains on this season’s team joining Troy Gasser, and Alex Black wearing the letter ‘A’ on his purple and gold jersey.
Jeff Miles, the lone California native not from the Bay Area, played in both games in front of family as well. His parents, Jeff, Sr. and Traci, flew in from San Diego to watch him play along with other relatives coming down from Sacramento. Another surprise came to the Miles family while inside the Downtown Oakland rink - Michael Leonne was on the opposite side of the ice. The UC Berkeley forward once played high school hockey with Jeff down in the San Diego area.
(Writer’s Note: Feature story on the Bay Area trip coming up during the holiday break)
Garg Scoring Touch Returns
Right-winger Devin Garg got his scoring groove back up and running as he broke his four-game goal-less streak in Saturday night’s loss. Garg tallied up his eighth goal on the year and evened out his scoring line up to 16 points on the season. His sister, Jasmine, a UC Berkeley student, joined her father in attendance to watch her brother play as well.
Penalty Killing Crush
The Huskies were a perfect nine of nine on the penalty kill in the entire weekend series. Washington committed the game’s first four penalties on Saturday – five overall on the night. The previous night they had four minor infractions with defenseman Graham Gustafson going to the box on back-to-back penalties in the second period.
Regular Season Midway Point
Not only was Friday night’s win the beginning of the second half of the Pacific-8 Conference schedule, the Huskies also concluded their overall first half of the regular season schedule. The Huskies left the state of California with a 5-2-1 conference record, 8-6-1 overall. They will not have their next conference game until January 8th & 9th when they return home to host the UCLA Bruins. This was Washington’s lone California trip of the regular season before the Pac-8 Tournament coming up in February, which will once again be held in South Lake Tahoe.
Up Next – Portland State University Vikings
Four more non-conference road games await for the Huskies as their six-game road trip continues into the Rose City this weekend against a winless Vikings team who started their ACHA Division 2 season late – October 17th at Santa Rosa (CA) Junior College – and have lost all six games played thus far. They are coming off an 8-4 loss at Western Washington University last Saturday night at the Bellingham Sportsplex, which will be the final stop for the Huskies to close out the 2015 calendar year coming up in early December.
Both of this weekend's games will be played inside the Rose Quarter's Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland.
Game 1 - Saturday, 8 pm
Game 2 - Sunday, 11 am