Aztecs Spearhead Trojans in Weekend Series


Joshua Frojelin

The Aztecs celebrate during their match against USC.

by Joshua Frojelin, Contributor

San Diego State hockey (6-2, 4-2 Pac-8) entered their Friday matchup against the University of Southern California having dominated their last two opponents. The Aztecs kept their momentum from their CSU Long Beach and UC San Diego victories en route to a 14-1 victory.

The Aztecs scored 25 seconds into the first game at the Salvation Army Kroc Center. Sophomore Jack Anderson started the scoring by finishing a bouncing puck in the slot.

The Scarlet and Black dominated the first period, putting up six goals in 20 minutes. The best of which came near the conclusion of the period, with senior Derian Theberge sniping a shorthanded goal over the goalie’s glove.

The Trojans were significantly undermanned. The club had just 11 skaters instead of the normal 18, making for a laborious 60 minutes.

Head coach Phillip Bateman recalled their higher status being a product of “recruiting high-end talent, and not just relying on what comes to us like we did in the past… it’s (creating) a massive talent gap.”

In the second period, the game was all but put away. Players began trying to balance the puck on their sticks behind the net and score lacrosse-style goals. Junior Blake Reed, who went on to score a hat trick, felt he “saw a lot of room out there.”

“My linemates helped me move the puck pretty well,” Reed said.

Bateman was not too critical of his team’s theatrics. However, he acknowledged that playing against lesser competition can be difficult. 

“(It’s) hard, you’re inevitably just gonna end up creating bad habits and getting away with stuff,” Bateman said.

In the third period, the team got back on track and lit the lamp another six times. Reed scored twice near the game’s conclusion, and the game began turning more physical with pushing after every whistle.

Alternate captain Reed pointed out “there’s some guys that don’t, but I’m one of those guys that prefers the game to be way more physical. Definitely next weekend, we’re gonna have a physical one.”

Besides the “14” posted on the scoreboard, the most outstanding part of the game was the immense support the team received. Nearly 200 students showed up screaming and chanting in support of their team.

“It’s crazy… we didn’t have a season last year, but it’s insane, it’s so much fun to play against teams in this atmosphere,” Reed said.

Next weekend, the Aztecs will travel to Northern Arizona University for their toughest opponent since the opening weekend against the University of Oregon. “We haven’t seen them in a couple seasons,” Bateman said. “I predict it will be a hard-fought game.”

Reeds has enjoyed the success of the last few weeks. “It’s good to have these games to get the confidence up for next weekend when we have a much harder competition,” Reed said.

SDSU repeated their performance Saturday, winning in a slightly closer 12-2 match. The Aztecs hope to keep up their dominant performance in the desert for another weekend.