Gator hockey club notches first win of the season at home opener
Within the first 15 seconds of the match, before the 20-some fans could settle into their seats, captain Dennis Groenlund slapped a corner shot from the goal line through the goal tender’s legs. The goal was all the SF State hockey team needed to secure their first official win of the season—but the club stacked eight additional goals to their lead in a 9-0 victory against opponent San Jose State University on Friday.
The Gators dominated in their home debut at the Cow Palace; all 23 of the Spartans’ shots on goal were smothered by goal tender Ryan Papazian and his defense. The offense took off some of the defensive pressure with 36 shots on goal and a pass game that kept the Spartans in pursuit of the puck for most of the game.
SF State came into the game with an 1-3 record, falling handily to opponents Santa Clara University, UC Davis and Santa Rosa Junior College. The win came after Cal Berkeley forfeited.
“It feels good to finally get a win,” said Gator defenseman John Schott. “We’ve been fighting for it and we have a game where we’re the dominant team and that’s never really been the case before.”
Schott lead the Gators’ offensive storm with three goals and an assist, forward Michael Parra followed close behind with two goals and two assists in the game. Gator defensemen Ben Karpovich lead the team in assists with five passes.
The passing game kept the SJSU defense at bay, said captains Andrew Duenes and Dennis Groenlund, and was the key to the team’s win. The Gators came out to their fourth game of the season, after three consecutive losses, looking to increase its passing accuracy.
“We got dipped into cold water the first couple games, so we learned,” said Groenlund. “We have to make passes to the (hockey stick) tape.”
SF State hailed its team development as the game-winning factor, but the Spartans hold that their own team’s downfalls and shoddy officiating dictated the game.
“Our team’s not very good this year. Scoring, offense is not very good. Defense is not good, goalie…eh,” said Spartans forward William Hawker, known as “Miley” to his teammates because of his wrecking ball-like style of play. “We were doing good this game but the refs gave them the game at some point. They were making bad calls.”
Hawker had three penalties called against him, two of which he said he didn’t deserve. Both the Gators and Spartans incurred 10 penalties each through the game.
“You have to let us play at some point,” he said. “Can’t slow the game down that much, gotta let us play.”
This is the first ever season for the Gators and Spartans. Both have been meeting up in Redwood City since the clubs’ inception to scrimmage.
The 2-3 Gators play Stanford, Sunday 9:30 p.m. at the Nazareth Ice Oasis in Redwood City and Davis on Friday, Nov. 15 at the Cow Palace.