Thursday night was a bad one for the Cal State Fullerton men’s ice hockey team, as the team was dominated 9-1 by the visiting University of Colorado Buffaloes at KHS Ice Arena.
Buffaloes forward Zach Lass had total control of the game as he outscored the Titans all by himself, finishing the game with a hat trick (three goals) and two assists.
The game started off competitive as both teams went back and forth on the boards. Colorado then got its first opportunity to score on a power play at the 4:49 mark of the first period, but the Titans were able to kill it.
The Buffaloes scored their first goal when Matt Schreiber took a shot from the right side of the net that went off Lass’s leg and got by Titan goalie Brandon Heethuis for a 1-0 lead in the 14th minute.
The Titans then got a power play of their own with seven seconds to go in the first period, but were unable to score. The Buffaloes struck again when Thomas Kubancik took a pass from Lass and forward JP Park for the wide open shot in front of the net for the 2-0 lead at 2:17 of the second period.
Colorado never let up and kept it rolling one minute later when defenseman Sam Kinney found the puck on the left side of the net and got it by Heethuis for the 3-0 lead just 60 seconds later. Kinney finished the game with one goal and one assist.
“The guys are just starting to get settled in with each other, it’s definitely a progress,” said Titan assistant coach Berkley Hoagland.
Heethuis was able to make a great save with a wide open net, diving from the far left side.
The Titans had a chance to get on the board when forward Sean Saligumba, on a breakaway, took a shot that went off the right post.
Minutes later, Lass got an open lane to the net and scored his second goal of the game for the 4-0 lead at 5:51 of the second period.
“The guys just need to settle down a bit, as coach put on a lot of zone coverages and they’re still trying to figure all that stuff out,” Hoagland said.
The Buffaloes made it 5-0 when freshman center Brandon Thompson was able to get his shot past Heethuis with assists by Bill Haege and Jordan Lockner with 6:11 to play in the middle period.
Fullerton came out strong in the third, needing only 11 seconds to get on the board as Saligumba went straight through the defense for an unassisted goal to cut the lead to 5-1. Unfortunately, that was all the offense the Titans had in store. University of Colorado responded with four unanswered goals before the end of the game, sending Fullerton to a dismal 9-1 loss.
“The game is really quick and really fast and we just need to bring our level of play up to the level of other teams,” Hoagland said.
Despite the loss, the coaches saw a silver lining.
“The guys are gelling together, sometimes you got to lose some guys before you can win some and right now we just keep getting better,” Hoagland said. “They just need to keep playing hard and with adversity comes progress.”