SDSU Hockey defeated the Northern Arizona University Icejacks in both matchups last season. Even playing away in Scottsdale, the Aztecs defeated their Division-2 counterparts.
While there was still positives to take away from the weekend, the Aztecs—now in Divison-1—are disappointed to have dropped both games against NAU.
The first game looked out of reach early after Parks Owensby and company allowed three goals in the first four minutes, on route to a 5-1 first period deficit.
Head coach Phillip Bateman felt the team’s “complete lack of focus” led to their poor start. “I don’t think they prepared as tightly as they should have for the game,” said the coach.
In the first period, Bateman lamented “our defensive pride was absolutely non-existent.”
In the second, the team had a new demeanor. This switch of a mentality was in part to a goaltending change, with backup Charlee Lerow taking the crease.
The Aztecs finally started clicking in the third, where senior Blake Reed notched two goals and junior Gavin O’Bryan completed a hat trick. But the team dug too deep of a hole to start and lost 7-6.
Bateman’s message to his team ahead of the second game was “come out here with a little venom… understand who you are and set the tone.”
The second game looked to be more of the same, as an odd-man-rush led to NAU scoring in just over a minute.
When asked, assistant coach Clark Oliver said the coaching staff did nothing different to prepare for the second game. “I think the message was pretty clear. They knew what they needed to do,” offered Oliver.
After exchanging goals in the second period, the game was deadlocked 2-2 for most of the game. Another mishandling of the puck in the neutral zone allowed an Icejack forward a rush, which he slotted five-hole on Owensby.
Even with the goalie-pulled late in the third, and 37 shots on net throughout the affair, the Aztecs could not tie the game. “Their goalie stole that game,” said Oliver.
In their losses, the Aztecs showed resiliency and grit, battling back from early deficits to remain competitive. In two weeks, when the Aztecs travel for the first time this season, the team will need to continue their resiliency against Colorado State University.