Cougar Ice Hockey hosted Santa Rosa Junior College Thursday and Friday night in its first two of only six home games on the teams regular season.
The Cougars, who were only the second Junior College team ever to win the ACHA National Championship back in 2011, have had a rough couple of season since the magical 2011 campaign and were hoping that 2014 would start off on a good note.
Thursday night did not start off as planned though, as COC fell behind 3-0 early on in the first after getting themselves into penalty trouble. Santa Rosa scored first on a fluky bounce of the skate of Josiah Nickel to take a 1-0 lead. The SRJC Bears would score two more goals in the next six minutes, one with an extra attacker during a delayed penalty by Blake Johnson, the other on the ensuing power play by Jackson Waldron to push the Bears lead to 3-0.
COC would try and start a comeback early in the second of a beautiful shot by Matthew Hoover to make close the gap to 3-1, however Santa Rosa would not give in as they would score three more unanswered goals, one in the second and two in the third, rolling to a victory on a 20 save performance by Dominic Jones to spoil the Cougars opening night.
On Friday the Cougars looked to reset and exact their revenge against Santa Rosa in the second game of the weekend series.
At the start it looked like the Cougars might get their chance as they took a 1-0 lead early in the first of a wrist shot by Sam Taferner the snuck through Jones pads, Taferner’s first collegiate goal in his young career.
Santa Rosa would show some resilency though, scoring on a 5 on 3 power play after a blast from the middle of the ice by Blake Johnson beat Erik Alvarado over the glove hand, evening the score at 1-1. Santa Rose would score again with less than a minute remaining in the first period when Matt Katicich sniped one past Alvarado to give the Bears a 2-1 lead heading into the first intermission.
Santa Rosa would push the lead to 3-1 before Danny Bello was able to find Tucker May in the slot, beating Jones for the second Cougar goal of the night, closing the gap to 3-2.
From there on it would be all Santa Rosa as COC would find themselves in penalty trouble for the rest of the game, allowing Santa Rosa to score 5 unanswered goals in route to an 8-2 victory over the Cougars.
COC Hockey travels to Arizona Saturday and Sunday to take on ACHA Division II Arizona State in a two game series.