From Daily Emerald
By Dylan Conway
Oregon hockey defeated the Aztecs 4-3 Friday night, dominating five-on-five play throughout.
The first period of Friday’s game was all Ducks; Oregon outshot San Diego State 19-5. The Ducks capitalized on one of their many chances in the first — an Austin Pultz point shot was deflected through the Aztec goalie’s legs by Connor Rendell.
The Ducks harnessed the momentum at the start of the second period. Two minutes in, Jack Geraghty stole the puck at the top of the circle and got free from defenders. With only the goaltender to beat, Geraghty faked left and went to his backhand, going high post and in for a highlight reel goal.
Later into the period, the Ducks ran into some penalty trouble. A Pultz boarding penalty put the Aztecs on a lengthy five-on-three power play.
The Aztecs clicked on the power play, scoring two goals back-to-back, knotting the game up at two.
“We need to do it five-on-five because they’ve got some skilled players that if we keep giving them power plays they are going to capitalize,” head coach Rylee Orr said following Friday’s game.
The momentum was on San Diego State’s side after the pair of goals, but the Ducks got back in rhythm as they started to win the even strength battle again.
The Ducks continued putting on pressure, leading to a shot from the high slot that hit the goalkeeper’s far pad right to Jordan Desrosier, whoone timed the puck in and gave the Ducks back the lead.
Just 16 seconds into the third period, the Ducks added another, increasing the Aztec deficit to two. Geraghty, once again, found some space in the offensive zone and snapped a high quality shot from the high slot. The rebound went right to Jimmy Gagan for a tap-in goal.
“I’m always looking to score,” Geraghty said. “It always creates rebounds.”
San Diego State would cut the lead to one with seven minutes left in the game, but the Ducks held on, winning 4-3, continuing to have the advantage in five-on-five play.
“Overall, I thought it was pretty good for having six practices under our belt,” Orr said. “Got into a little bit of penalty trouble, but, five-on-five, I really liked our game. If we can eliminate some of those penalties, I really like where we are at for it being this early into the season.”
With no Duck football game to attract UO students, The Rink Exchange was packed for game two of the doubleheader on Saturday.
The crowd was buzzing to start the period, but the noise faded slowly as the Ducks struggled to get anything going on offense. Most of the first period was spent in the Ducks’ defensive zone, with several turnovers and missed passes plaguing the Oregon breakout.
The period ended scoreless thanks to solid goaltending from Rodney Peterson and a point blank SDSU shot that rang off the post.
“The first period was extremely sluggish. They kind of took it to us,” Orr said. “Huge period by Roddie in between the pipes really kept us in that one.”
Between periods, Orr stopped by the media table to drop off his “bad luck jacket.” The superstition seemed to ring true as the ice tilted in the second period, and the Ducks looked much improved.
In the midst of a dominant shift from Oregon, a point shot found its way to the net, with a slew of traffic in the crease. Jimmy Gagen was able to find the loose puck, tapping it into an open net for his second goal of the weekend, giving the Ducks a lead three minutes into the second period.
Later in the period, a neutral zone faceoff was pushed forward by Kirt Fortney onto Rendell’s stick. At the top of the left circle, Rendell fired a wrist shot into the bottom right side, beating the Aztecs goalkeeper’s glove hand.
The Ducks’ pressure continued, resulting in numerous scoring chances in the final moments of the second.
In the middle of the third period, the Aztecs scored a shorthanded goal, cutting the Ducks’ lead in half.
As SDSU made a late push, Peterson stood tall in net, making several key stops to stymie the Aztecs’ momentum.
“I was feeling good all game, it set up for a nice third period,” Peterson said. “That’s the best part of the game right there when you’re up by one, [they] pull the goalie and make big saves. That’s what it’s all about.”
With a few seconds left on the clock, an SDSU player came flying into the high slot. But, before he could shoot, Putlz laid the body on him, knocking the player over and securing the win for the Ducks.
“For us to come out here off six practices and get the weekend sweep is just huge, and it speaks to the volume of this team and how they are gelling so quickly and playing for each other. It’s just awesome to see,” Orr said.
(Originally published at https://www.dailyemerald.com/sports/oregon-hockey-improves-to-4-0-on-the-season-sweeps-sdsu/article_1ed5741e-2f84-11ec-9e77-d7881c48b3b5.html)