University of California (Berkeley) Golden Bears
PAC-8: 7-4-0-1; Overall: 8-4-0-1 (2nd Place)
The Golden Bears have turned things around on the ice this season by winning seven of their last eight games. UC Berkeley started conference play 0-4 getting swept at USC and forfeiting a set of home games with Utah prior to the streak. Head coach Jeff Slusarz has relied on senior goaltender Kyle McAlister (Kitchener, Ontario) throughout the season. The lone shootout came in the second conference game when USC beat Cal, 7-6. UC Berkeley does not hit the ice again until January 22nd in a rematch with Santa Clara University on the road.
University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Bruins
PAC-8: 0-8-0 (7th Place); Overall: 3-11-0
The Bruins are barely hanging on to qualify for the Pac-8 tournament as this could be one of the worst season’s in the hockey club’s history. Senior goaltender Gabe Elvin has been the only one available between the pipes for the Bruins, who are hoping to gain their first conference win of the season when they visit the Washington Huskies this weekend at Olympicview Arena. UCLA swept Washington in Los Angeles last season and hope to do the same at the Mountlake Terrace rink.
University of Oregon Ducks
PAC-8: 3-4-1 (5th Place); Overall: 7-6-1
The runner-ups from last season’s Pac-8 Conference tournament title game had been shutout by the same identical score (8-0) to two different schools – at Boise State & vs. Utah – but their worst performance had to be a 10-5 defeat at WSU. Senior forward Nick Sciabarra leads the way in scoring (21 points) in ten games played for the Ducks, who resume action this weekend in non-conference action with Portland State University at Portland’s Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
University of Southern California Trojans
PAC-8: 6-2-0 (1st Place); Overall: 6-11-0
All wins have come via conference games for the Trojans as the team continues to hold the top spot in the conference based upon the KRACH rankings system that determines which team will be seeded entering the conference tournament in February. Montana Tech has been the lone school not from the state of California that has actually played USC this season (games vs. Notre Dame at Chicago were cancelled in October) and beat them in Lakewood, CA, 6-0. USC has taken the first two games from crosstown rival UCLA. Cory Newman (Roslyn Heights, New York) leads the team in scoring (33 points) and assists (23) in 17 games. David Begert (Vancouver, British Columbia) leads the team in goals (19). The Trojans do not hit Anaheim Ice again until next weekend with three straight games beginning with the lone Pac-8 meeting of the season with Oregon (January 14th) and then back-to-back non-conference games with another L.A. school in the Loyola Marymount University Lions.
University of Utah Utes
PAC-8: 6-0-0 (4th Place); Overall: 20-2-2
ACHA West Region Ranking: #2
The Utes started out their season by going undefeated in their first 18 games before Northern Arizona stunned Utah, 4-3, on November 20th at the Utah State Aggies’ Beehive Classic. Senior forward Shaymus Bertagnolli (Layton, Utah) shattered the team’s all-time assists record earlier this season – 122 and counting – as the Utes remain ranked #2 in the latest American Collegiate Hockey Association Division 2 Men’s West Region Rankings. Freshman forward Brett Myer (Richland, Washington) leads the team in overall scoring (40 points) and goals (20). The goaltending duo of sophomore Chris Komma (Boise, Idaho) and senior Devan Betts (Ogden, Utah) have been nearly untouchable. In 12 appearances, Komma (pronounced as KO-mah) is 9-2, 1.84 GAA, and a .918 save percentage including the team’s lone shutout, an 8-0 win at Oregon back on November 7th; Betts is undefeated (9-0) in 11 appearances with a 2.00 GAA, and a .906 save percentage. The Utes have only scheduled their conference games to the conference-mandated minimum eight games with only four out of the six games actually played (all wins including forfeits by California in November) with only two conference games remaining against USC later this month. The lack of conference games drops Utah #4 in the latest Pac-8 standings.
Washington State University Cougars
PAC-8 & Overall: 2-6-0 (6th Place)
Head coach Chris Soriano’s team has already completed its conference schedule. Stunning upset wins at home over both Oregon and Washington has helped keep the Cougars barely alive for the PAC-8 Conference tournament next month. The University of Idaho (next weekend, home-and-home series - two games) and Gonzaga University Bulldogs (four games) are the only teams remaining on WSU’s schedule. JD Dunn and Zach Sonnichsen are tied with the team scoring lead with ten points, each. The Cougars have yet to play a non-conference game due to previous cancellations with both schools.
PAC-8 Announces February Tournament Schedule
The Pacific-8 Conference released the dates and times for their upcoming tournament schedule, according to their website, on December 28th. For the second consecutive year, the South Lake Tahoe (California) Ice Rink will host the six-team, three-day event. Last season, Utah defeated Oregon and captured the conference title outright.
The top two seeds will get a bye day while seeds three through six will play on Friday February 5th beginning with seeds #3 & #6 will play the first game at 4:30 pm, followed Seeds #4 & #5 in the second game at approximately 7:30 pm.
The tournament continues with the semifinal games on Saturday February 6th starting with the highest winning seed from the previous night’s games taking on the #2 seed in the conference at 4 pm. The lowest winning seed from Friday’s games will play the conference’s top seed at approximately 7 pm to close out Saturday’s schedule.
The conference tournament championship game will take place on Super Bowl Sunday – February 7th – at 1 pm.
For the first time this year, the conference tournament will have two consolation games. A 5th-place game will feature the losers from the Friday games playing on Saturday February 6th at 1 pm. And a 3rd-place game has also been added, which will feature the losers from the previous night’s semifinal games on Sunday February 7th at 10 am.