The stands may have been empty, but the back of Washington State’s net wasn’t.
After what first seemed like a rocky start this weekend against Utah, Oregon’s club hockey team pulled through against WSU and won the third game in their four-game homestand.
At first, it looked as if the Ducks were repeating their previous two nights when the Cougars scored the first goal of the night on goalie Ty Anderton only 3:12 into the first. It went straight downhill for the Cougers after that. One minute and 41 seconds after that first goal, Oregon tied it up and began the eight-goal scoring streak which lasted halfway into the second.
The surplus of goals can’t only be attributed to Oregon’s offense. While Oregon had around 12 players on the bench at any one time, Washington State only had four.
“It’s brutal,” Ducks defenseman Terran Donnelly said. “Whenever you have four guys on the bench, it just wears you down within the first five minutes of game. It’s pretty easy to skate them into the ground when they have many players.”
Even when Washington State’s Jack Krienen broke the scoring streak of the Ducks and made it 8-2 on the scoreboard, the Ducks didn’t let that affect them. Less than two minutes later, forward Dan Sulitzer scored to keep Oregon’s seven-goal lead.
That lead quickly became six when Zach Sonnichsen scored his second goal of the night for WSU just 10 seconds after Oregon.
Luck ran out for Washington State after that. When the Cougers committed a pair of penalties for boarding and charging, rookie Nick Sciabarra capitalized on the power play for Oregon to score the last goal of the period, making it 10-3. The goal was his second of the game and the fourth point of what would become a six-point night for Sciabarra.
As for how Washington ended up scoring two goals in the later-half of the second alone, it can be chalked up in one word: laziness.
“It’s quite a change (from Utah),” Donnelly, who had four assists, said. “I mean we kind of dropped our speed down to Washington State’s level after we played such a fast team like Utah.
“We weren’t really thinking,” he continued. “We had offensive lines all of the time so we weren’t really thinking how to play defense. It’s not a good thing to do.”
Even though the Ducks barred Washington State from getting anything to the back of the net in the third period, they still acknowledge that their play wasn’t the best.
“It’s never a good idea to play less than your potential,” Donnelly said. “We always have the potential to skate as hard as we can at Utah speed, so we always need to skate like that so next time we see Utah or another team like that, we can actually play to our full potential.”
One good thing came from the night’s blowout though.
“It was quite a good point night for the defensemen,” Donnelly said.