SDSU hockey beats NAU 6-4, sweeps two-game series

by Meghan Lanigan, Contributor

With four games left before winter break, the San Diego State men’s ice hockey club team had another win on Friday night, sweeping a two-game series with Northern Arizona University’s Division III team and bringing the Aztecs’ season record to 8-4.

Forward Anthony Mata scored a hat trick in the first period as the Aztecs beat the Icejacks 6-4.

Mata scored two of his three goals 36 seconds apart in the first period. His second goal came off an assist by forward Brandon Neveau with 12:03 remaining in the first period. Mata’s third goal came off an assist by defenseman Mauricio Schmidt with just over 26 seconds left in the first period.

“You put in your work and, you know, good things happen,” Mata said.

The Icejacks then scored two back-to-back goals in just over a minute with under three minutes left to play in the first period.

The second period began with the Aztecs leading 3-2, but the Icejacks tied it up four minutes into the period.

NAU’s scoring didn’t finish there and it took a 4-3 lead with 7:55 remaining in the second period. But 36 seconds later, Neveau tied the game with a goal of his own with assists from defensemen Cody Nieuwenhuis and Christian Gerrits.

Forward Travis Sevilla scored the fifth goal for the Aztecs in the second period when he broke away and scored on the Icejacks’ goaltender Ian Thompson on a one-on-one showdown.

The last goal of the night for the Aztecs came from forward Aaron Mayer on assists from Gerrits and forward Patrick Miller with 3:03 remaining in the second period.

The Icejacks played fast and aggressive to start the third period but the Aztecs matched their intensity and were able to keep them in check and did not allow another goal for the rest of the game.

The team has been off to a great start, averaging six goals per game. Head coach Ted Powers attributes the team’s success to the team’s chemistry.

“I couldn’t ask for a better group of guys. They get along great and they’re very skilled,” Powers said.

One of the biggest wins for the Aztecs this season came against UCLA when they beat the Bruins 12-3.

In another win over Santa Rosa Junior College, the Aztecs scored six goals in two and a half minutes in the second period.

The Aztecs are in the middle of a seven-game home stretch with UNLV up next.

“We’ve got to tighten up the screws on a couple little things here and there, some face-offs, some breakouts, little things like that,” Powers said. “But overall, preparation will be about the same.”

The Aztecs are done facing D-III teams for the season, Mata said. This could be both a blessing and a curse.

“I’m not going to lie — there’s some teams out there, they’re really good,” Mata said. “There’s some teams that shouldn’t even be D-III.”

Mata was referring to playing teams in a lower division than the Aztecs, who are in Division II.

The first game of the two-game series next week against UNLV is Friday, Nov. 20, at 9 p.m., with a game the next day at 3:15 p.m.