Three seed Oregon took on six seed UCLA for the first game of the Pac-8 playoffs held in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Ducks emerged victorious with a 5-2 win over the Bruins.
The win over the Bruins means that the Ducks will be facing the No. 15 Arizona State Sun Devils, the top seed in Pool B, tomorrow night for a spot in the Pac-8 Championship, where the Ducks had fallen to Utah the year prior.
It’ll be tough for the Ducks to get into the finals though. Yesterday Arizona State beat UCLA in a 13-1 blowout and the Sun Devils hold a perfect 12-0 Pac-8 record. Oregon ended the season 8-6 in the Pac-8.
The first period between Oregon and UCLA was relatively eventless. Despite outshooting the Bruins 22 to 5, the period was scoreless with a lone penalty against Oregon’s Michael Luke for holding and only a few solid hits from either team.
The second period was when the majority of the action happened.
After an early goal by Oregon forward Patrick Sgarlata on the rebound, the Ducks found themselves up with the lead they should have had in the previous period. The point advantage was short lived, though, as a Bruin quickly tied it up for UCLA.
35 seconds later, the Bruins committed a penalty for interference and found themselves heading to the box. The penalty was costly. Halfway through the UCLA penalty kill, Dan Sulitzer reclaimed the Oregon lead by picking up a rebound from a slapshot by Tyler Halverson.
After two tripping calls, one for each team, the Ducks found themselves back on the power play. The opportunity gave them their third goal of the night as Stephen Casey was able to convert their extra man into another point.
The Bruins had their chance with a power play of their own when Matthew Ackman was issued a slashing call, but they remained 0-for-4 on the PP.
Oregon got its final goal of the period a few minutes after returning to even strength. Connor McBride put one past the goalie after a beautiful pass from Trevor McCarty.
The period ended 4-1 in favor of the Ducks with Oregon once again quadrupling the number of shots on goal by UCLA.
As Oregon goalie Danny Cockriel seeing little action in his own zone, the Ducks decided to switch him out for alternate Trevor Peterson for the third period.
UCLA earned the first goal of the period on a breakaway. As Peterson came out of the net to poke check the puck from the rapidly approaching Bruins player, the Bruin swiveled around Peterson’s stick and lobbed it into the essentially unmanned goal.
UCLA had brought its goal tally up to two where it would stay for the rest of the game.
Soon the game was in its final minutes and the Bruins pulled their goalie to gain the extra man. It was useless, though, as Michael Luke finished off the game with an empty netter for Oregon.
The loss meant elimination for UCLA.
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