Final season awards:
3/21/05: Playoffs: Grit...determination...adversity...all of these terms can be used to describe the UC Davis Ice Hockey team as they tried with all their might to make it to the championship game. Despite these efforts, they were left devastated when they lost in the semi-finals to Santa Rosa, after beating them just two days before. The playoffs were definitely a roller coaster ride for the Aggies, as game after game they alternated emotional highs and lows...
Thursday night...The Aggies faced off
against the Santa Rosa Polar Bears, which was the third consecutive game
against Santa Rosa. The Aggies came out flat footed and allowed Santa
Rosa to score only 1:24 into the game. Nearing the end of the first
period, the Aggies needed a rally before heading in to the break and
Anthony Gadd answered to tie the game at 1-1. The second period was
played tightly as both teams did not want to be down heading into the
third. However, with the Aggies on the power play, Mike White put the
puck in the net to give the Aggies a 2-1 lead. Moments later, Jeff
Imahara was called for a 5 minute major penalty for clipping while Santa
Rosa's Zach Brown was called for a 2 minute roughing minor. The Aggies
were able to kill off Imahara's penalty and head into the intermission
with momentum on their side. Unfortunately, Berk Nelson got hurt in the
middle of the period when he strained what seemed to be his abdominal
muscle. To start the third, the teams played tight hockey once again
throughout most of the period. Then with about 5 minutes remaining, Jeff
Imahara took matters into his own hands to give the Aggies a two goal
lead at 3-1. Then the rain started to fall as Eddie Birnbaum scored a
short handed goal less than 2 minutes later. Santa Rosa added a late
goal, but to no avail as Mike White countered with an empty netter to
finish the game. Aggies 5, Santa Rosa 2.
Friday morning...Maybe it was a case of lack
of sleep, but the Aggies came out as slow as it gets against the
Moorpark Raiders. Moorpark scored a quick goal 3 minutes into the game
and the Aggies clung in there until near the end of the first period.
Then at the 3:55 mark, the Aggies completely fell apart as they allowed
4 goals in a span of 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Facing deficits had been
a game the Aggies repeatedly faced during the regular season, but being
down 5-0 would be a new challenge...it was a challenge the Aggies would
not be able to answer. To add insult to injury (no pun intended), Mike
White separated his shoulder midway through a second period in which
Moorpark added two more goals to put the Aggies down 7-0. To start
the third period, Christy Roberts came in between the pipes to relieve
Richard Niedzwieki to see her first game ever in the playoffs. She
played stellar as she stopped shot after shot to rally the Aggies. Ben
Dines would ruin Moorpark's shutout with about 4 minutes left in the
game, but that was the Aggies only high point of the game. Moorpark
scored one last goal when Christy Roberts was screened by teammates and
foes and could not find the puck. Aggies 1, Moorpark 8.
Firday night...Needing a victory to move on
to the semi-finals, the Aggies came out strong as ever against the
defending champion College of the Canyons. Anthony Gadd got the show
started just two minutes into the contest. The Aggies would not score
again until the second period, when Anthony Gadd scored again shortly
into the frame to put the Aggies up 2-0. The situation got tense when
Jeff Imahara and the COC goalie scrambled for a loose puck at the hash
marks. Jeff Imahara went into a slide to attempt to knock the puck past
the goalie, but wound up crashing into the goalie. The goalie took
offense and swung his stick over Jeff Imahara, but he only received a 2
minute minor. The Aggies dominated the entire game when Captain Nick
Rood finished the scoring at 12:11 of the third period to give the
Aggies a 3-0 lead. Nearing the end of the game, COC got chippy as it was
apparent that the Aggies had the game in the bag. Aggies 3, COC 0.
Saturday night...There could be no more
losses if the Aggies were going to win the PCHA Championship. The Aggies
faced off once again against Santa Rosa, except this time the Aggies
were marred by new injuries in addition to lingering ones: Kiel Wheat
pulled a chest muscle and Matt Coleman had a rib injury. Both teams came
out strong, showing that they did not want to lose this game and go home
early. Santa Rosa got on the board early as they scored near the end of
the first period. The game continued to be played tightly, until the
injured Berk Nelson scored late in the second period to tie the game at
1-1. Now the crucial moment of the game occurred near the end of the
second: Todd Guay took a freak 5 minute high sticking penalty and was
also ejected from the game. A Santa Rosa player collapsed on the Aggies
net and Todd Guay swung around instinctively and unfortunately clipped
the player in the neck. The Aggies killed the rest of the second period,
but the penalty carried over into the third. Coming out to play the
third, the Aggies tried desperately to kill the penalty, but Santa Rosa
scored twice to put the Aggies down 3-1. The rest of the game, the
shorthanded Aggies battled ferociously, but to no avail as the game
ended. Aggies 1, Santa Rosa 3.
...and thus, this marked the end of the line for the UC Davis Aggies season. The Aggies said goodbye to 8 departing seniors and welcomed 8 new alumni: Joe Angus, Jeremy Brooks, Matthew Coleman, Peter Derounian, Todd Guay, Berk Nelson, Nick Rood, and Michael White. It was a great season played by all and this was arguably the best team ever in UC Davis history to take the ice. Last but not least, the UC Davis Ice Hockey team would like to thank all the fans who came and supported the hockey team. Until next season...
2/27/05: The fans definitely showed up for the last home game of the season. The Aggie fans packed the house for the first time this season and there was only standing room left to see the highly anticipated game against the rough Santa Rosa Polar Bears. After an amazing national anthem was sung by Sheryl Salamanca, the Aggies were pumped and ready to show the fans a great game. Right out of the gate, Pete Derounian scored less than two minutes into the contest to put the Aggies up 1-0. Santa Rosa did not help their cause by taking a slew of penalties (39 PIM in the game). The game also marked the return of the oft-injured Kiel Wheat, who scored on a breakaway short-handed goal midway through the 1st period. Richard Niedzwieki stood on his head to keep the Aggies in the game, as Santa Rosa could not muster any goals. The Aggies however struggled mightily to find its power play touch, not scoring on any power play after the first goal by Derounian, including a few 5 on 3's. Halfway through the 3rd period, Anthony Gadd showed some great poise by causing a turnover through his efforts on the forecheck and scored on his mini-breakaway to put the Aggies up 3-0.
The next night in Santa Rosa, the Aggies took a
page out of Jekyl and Hyde and quickly found themselves down 4-0 after a
period in which Santa Rosa scored the 4 goals in less than 2 minutes.
After being chewed out by a furious Berk Nelson, the Aggies rallied for
2 goals in the 2nd period from Ben Dines and superstar Jeff Imahara.
Just as the Aggies were feeling the momentum going their way, Santa
Rosa's Zach Brown scored his 3rd goal of the game to give the Polar
Bears a 5-2 lead. Santa Rosa added another goal late in the 3rd period
for a 6-2 lead. With the game out of hand, Joe Angus scored with 11
seconds left in the game.
2/21/05: The Aggies went 2-1 on their road trip to Southern California, losing to College of the Canyons while defeating CSU Northridge and Moorpark. Friday night, the Aggies came out slow following the 6 hour drive from Davis to play COC. The Aggies could not find their legs until the third period, which they were already down 0-3. The Aggies also faced various injuries throughout the game to rookies Eddie Birnbaum and Ben Dines. They scored 3 goals in the third, but to no avail as COC won 5-3. They Aggies had momentum very late in the game, scoring twice in the last minute to salvage some pride out of the game. After the game, Berk Nelson gave one of his most inspiring speeches of the year to rally the troops for the final two games of the trip.
With a full day of rest, the Aggies came out Saturday pumped and ready to play. Unfortunately, CSUN got the first goal right off the bat to put the Aggies down early. The teams traded leads many times in the game, with CSUN taking a 4-3 lead in the 3rd period. With the Aggies down a goal late in the game, can you guess who scored a clutch goal to tie the game? If you said Jeff Imahara, you are exactly right. On his 2nd goal of the game, Jeff gave the Aggies a huge burst of momentum with only 2:48 remaining. The Aggies almost scored the go ahead with Berk Nelson getting tripped up and making a pass from his knees to Pete Derounian, but the CSUN goalie made a huge save. Heading into overtime, the Aggies were on the power play for a good minute or so on a carry over penalty. Right when the penalty expired, Mike White scored yet another game winning goal on a sweet back hand play. The Aggies would have gone into a frantic celebration, but Berk Nelson was being mugged by Mike Rhodes of CSUN. Captain Nick Rood was almost destroyed trying to hold back Berk Nelson.
With the win, the Aggies looked to take on the
league leading Moorpark Raiders. It wasn't for lack of effort, but the
Aggies found themselves down 0-3 after two period of play. Berk Nelson
once again rallied the troops for the third period, predicting a win ala
Mark Messier. The Aggies quickly scored two goals to start the third,
with Berk assisting on Ben Dine's goal and scoring one of his own.
Halfway through the period, Ben Dine's put in his 2nd goal of the game
to tie the game at three a piece. This goal was originally called off,
but after the referees conferred, the goal was counted. Shortly after,
Pete Derounian scored a huge goal with about 6 minutes to go in the
game. The Aggies then played some shutdown defense to preserve the win.
2/5/05: The Aggies came out slow expecting
SDSU to be the same team from their previous road trip in which the
Aggies won 4-0. The Aztecs have improved under the tutelage of savvy
coaches Dave Mischel and Dave Hough who are both UC Davis Alumni. The
scoring got started by none other than Jeff Imahara at 5 minutes into
the game. SDSU responded right away with a goal 5 seconds later,
charging the net right off the face-off. The game was played tightly
with no more goals until the third period, when SDSU scored to take a
2-1 lead. With the Aggies getting desperate for goals, the BIG line
answered with two huge goals. Only 5 minutes remained in the game when
Eddie Birnbaum hit the back of the net on a feed from Jeff Imahara. The
game looked like it was heading to overtime when the BIG line went coast
to coast starting with an outlet pass from Eddie Birnbaum to Jeff
Imahara and then, Jeff took control of the play. After trying to pull
the same deke all game, it finally worked out when he went between the
defender's legs, recovered the puck, and scored high glove side on the
goalie with about a minute left.
1/30/05: Going into the game, the Aggies sought
redemption for losing to the College of the Canyons in the championship
game last spring. The Aggies came out strong, but only had one goal to
show for at the first intermission by Mike White, who ripped a slap shot
over the goalie's shoulder. There would have been a two goal lead after
the 1st period, but Jeff Imahara had a goal called off because of a man
in the crease. Shortly into the 2nd period, Andrew Le scored his 3rd
goal of the year on a beautiful pass from Pete Derounian, which would
stand to be the game winner. Once again a goal was called off as Anthony
Gadd appeared to score, only to have the whistle blow right before it
went in the net. So instead of a 4-0 lead, the Aggies went into the 2nd
intermission with a 2-0 lead. About 7 minutes into the 3rd period,
Anthony Gadd got his goal back from a Jeff Imahara pass. Halfway through
the last period, Richard Niedzwieki lost his bid for a shutout when
Jason Feller scored, cutting the COC deficit to 3-1. The Aggies iced the
game with a goal from Eddie Birnbaum with about 3 minutes left and
another from Jeff Imahara with only 6 seconds remaining.
1/23/05: The Aggies called out some alumni to have
a fun scrimmage in which defense would not matter. After one period
though, the score was only 2-0 in favor of the Blue team. The score
repeatedly went back and forth until the Blue team scored 5 straight
from the late 2nd period and early 3rd. The White team scored a few down
the stretch, but the Blue answered back every time.
1/22/05: The Aggies looked to start their three
game home stand off right with a win and continue building their
momentum from the previous two wins (against Cal and Palmer). The game
started off as a tight one, with no scoring until midway through the
first when veteran Pete Derounian hit the back of the net. The Aggies
quickly added another one about a minute later as Anthony Gadd found his
scoring touch. Northridge answered with their first goal with about two
minutes left in the first period to try to slow the Aggies down. One
minute later, Joe Angus scored his first goal in over a year on a
centering pass from Berk Nelson to put the Aggies up 3-1. With momentum
definitely in the Aggies favor, Pete Derounian scored right off the bat
in the second period to put the Aggies up by three. Northridge answered
with a goal of their own fifteen seconds later and another five minutes
after that to narrow the Aggie lead to 4-3. The turning point in the
game was when the Aggies were already on the power play with about 6
minutes left in the third and a Northridge player took a 5 minute major
penalty for cross checking Mike White, who showed poise in not
retaliating. The Aggies iced the game with a hat trick goal by Pete
Derounian and another goal from Anthony Gadd.
1/15/05: UC Davis dropped a bomb on Palmer...an
Eddie Birnbaum. The up-and-coming rookie came through with a hat trick
as the Aggies defeated the chiropractors by a score of 11-7. Playing
with a bench of only 10 skaters, the Aggies felt a sense of urgency to
get on the board quick and not allow Palmer to gain any momentum.
Although the score indicated that the game was relatively close, the Aggies
were in full control throughout, scoring 4 quick goals to start.
Palmer continually chipped away at the Aggie lead and were able to put
together some goals in bunches, but were never able to take control of
the game. Play got chippy towards the end of the game as 2 skaters from
both teams were sent to the box for roughing penalties. Eddie Birnbaum
put the icing on the cake with an empty netter to finish his hat trick.
1/9/05: Over the weekend, the Aggies split the home and home series with the Cal Bears. Friday night at the Berkeley Iceland, the Aggies came out strong with two goals from rookie Ben Dines. Goalie Richard Niedzwiecki stood on his head in the first two periods to keep the Aggies in the game, stopping a flurry of shots from the Bears. He could only do so much though, as the Bears continued to fire and put in four straight goals to take a 4-2 lead. Jeff Imahara continued to prove why he is a sniper, scoring with just under 2 minutes remaining in the game to trim the Cal lead to 4-3. The Aggies looked like they were about to tie the game late, but Brad Buss made a spectacular save on Jeff Imahara's tip off of Matt Coleman's blast from the point. The Bears scored on an empty net to defeat the Aggies 5-3.
Redemption came the next day as the Aggies looked
to defend their home ice. The Aggies came out strong, but Brad Buss
would not allow them to score in the first half of the game. The Aggies
found themselves on the power play for much of the first period, but
were unable to capitalize. Chris Moulton of Cal scored the first two
goals of the game to put the Aggies in a hole early on. The Aggies
received a 5 minute power play at 9:29 of the 2nd period and were
finally able to cash in on the opportunity. Jeff Imahara and Mike White
both scored during the major penalty to tie the game at 2. Mike White
added another power play goal early in the third period to put to Aggies
up 3-2. Cal tied the game on Chris Moulton's hat trick goal with about 5
minutes to go in the game. Aggie veteran Berk Nelson scored the eventual
game winner less than a minute later to give the Aggies the 4-3 lead and
Eddie Birnbaum followed suit 30 seconds later to go up 5-3. Cal pulled
Brad Buss near the end to go for a last minute push, but Jeremy Brooks
scored the empty netter as the Aggies won 6-3.
12/3/04: The Aggies came out hard in UC Berkeley's
home rink with Pete Derounian putting a quick goal on the board to give
the Aggies the early lead. There would be no more scoring until the middle
of the 2nd period, when Anthony Gadd pulled out a Jeff Imahara-like move
to freeze the goalie and stuffed the puck into the empty net to give the
Aggies a 2-0 lead. Late in the 2nd period, the play got chippy as
Andrew Le got into a scrap with Berkeley captain Chris Dang and Francois
Pellerin. Andrew Le was given a 5 minute major for slashing while Pellerin received 2 minutes for roughing. This would prove costly, as
Berkeley trimmed the lead to 2-1 with an early power play goal in the
third. The game remained close all night until about 5 minutes left in
the third, when the Aggies slammed the door with two quick goals by
Jeremy Brooks and none other than Jeff Imahara. With the game just about
over, there was another scrap as Anthony Gadd mixed it up with Dylan
Taylor. While both players received matching minor penalties, the game
Gold Rush Tournament: Battle for NorCal bragging
*Note about Gold Rush: The Aggies were not able to make the championship game with San Jose State because many players had finals and UC Davis was already riding a short bench as it was (with only 11 players healthy after the Berkeley game). Only about 7 players would have been able to play in the championship game, so Berkeley was asked to play in UC Davis' place.
11/20/04: On Saturday, the Aggies proved that a 3
hour car ride and a shortened bench couldn't stop them from beating
Fresno State in their home arena. In the only game Fresno State would
play in the Save Mart Center, the Aggies were only able to suit up 11
skaters because of various reasons. Heart and determination would lead
the way as the Aggies quickly went up 2-0, with goals by from Aggie snipers
Jeff Imahara and Berk Nelson. Fresno State struck back with two
goals of their own to tie the game. Berk Nelson added another goal
to give the Aggies a brief lead, but Fresno State countered once
again to tie the game at three. The game was so close that only a defensive
letdown would mean the difference. With about 5 minutes remaining in
the third period, Aggie veteran Mike White carried
the puck into the Fresno zone with Ben Dines on the wing. Although Mike
lost the puck at the top of the circles, he and Ben tied up the
opposing players while Andrew Le snuck in and scored with the aid of a
huge screen. The last 5 minutes of the game were
hectic as the tired Aggies battled to dump the puck and not let Fresno
State gain control. The Aggies held on to the slim 4-3 lead to
win the game and head into Thanksgiving with a win.
11/12/04: The Aggies were defeated by the Moorpark Raiders Friday night by the score of 6-2. Penalty trouble once again cost the Aggies as they gave Moorpark two 5-on-3's in the first period. Facing a 3-0 deficit heading in to the 3rd period, Aggie sniper Jeff Imahara got the scoring started by putting in a power play goal. Shortly after, Berk Nelson followed with his own power play goal to cut the lead to 3-2. Feeling destined for a come back, the Aggies played hard, only to have Moorpark score three straight goals to end the game. The Aggies look to right the ship as they head to Fresno to play the Bulldogs in the only game Fresno State will play in their home arena.
11/6/04: Facing off against UCSD on Saturday, the Aggies were seeking revenge for their loss in San Diego a few weeks back. The Aggies came out strong and were never down in the game, finishing off UCSD by a score of 5-2. Aggie superstar transfer student Jeff Imahara had his third hat-trick in three games through hard work, determination, and one sick toe-drag through two UCSD defenders. The game was filled with penalties and special teams were a key factor in the Aggie's win. Two of Jeff Imahara's goals were on the power play (both of which were scored in the third period) and the Aggies were able to kill off a 5 on 3 and subsequently scored right after. The Aggies will look to keep up their three game win streak on Friday against Moorpark.
10/30/04: UC Davis 17, Stanford 0...and that is not a
tribute to the football team. On Saturday night, your Aggies came out
pumped and ready to pummel the Stanford Cardinals. This game was in the
Aggie's control right from the get-go, as UC Davis was up 4-0 after the
first period. Shortly thereafter, Christy Roberts got her first taste of
action for the season as she replaced Richard Niedzwiecki between the
pipes. By the end of the night, she finished the game to corecord back to back shutouts. Four Aggies had recorded a hat trick (Jeff
Imahara, Pete Derounian, Ben Dines, and Anthony Gadd). Rookie freshmen Ben
Dines (3 g) and Eddie Birnbaum (2 g) recorded the first goals of their UC
10/29/04: The game between UC Davis and Stanford was cancelled in the second period due to a ferocious hit delivered by Michael White to a Stanford player that broke the door to the rink... no make up has been announced
10/25/04: The Aggies split this weekend in San Diego losing to UCSD 3-4 and beating SDSU 4-0. Against UCSD, the Aggies were coming fresh off an 8 hour car ride anxious to play against their cross state rivals. The game went back and forth, including a goal called off by a phantom "man in the crease" by UC Davis and a few calls going UCSD's way. In the end however, UCSD pulled out a victory by breaking the 3-3 tie with 2.2 seconds left in the game. The next day, the Aggies were left looking to redeem the road trip with a match against SDSU. The first period was a good one for the Aggies as they outshot SDSU 13 to 4, but couldn't muster a goal. Finally in the 2nd period, rookie transfer Jeff Imahara broke the tie to give the Aggies the lead 1-0. That opened the flood gates as UC Davis added 3 more in the 3rd, including two more by Imahara for his team leading 7th goal and first career hat trick. Richard Niedzwiecki notched his first ever UC Davis shutout for UC Davis' 3rd win of the season.
10/16/04: The Aggies defeated Fresno State by a score of 4-3 on Friday night after not leading for most of the game. Facing 0-2 and 1-2 deficits, the Aggies battled back and rallied to tie the game twice thanks to rookie Jeff Imahara (including once short handed). Finally, the Aggies got the lead with a miniscule 5 seconds left on the board thanks to a clutch goal by Mike White right off the face off. The Aggies played strong all night and every line on the ice was looking solid. A key factor in the game was that the Aggies stayed out of the penalty box, unlike previous games.
10/10/04: UC Davis had a productive weekend splitting the games by beating Stanford 8-4 and losing to San Jose State 1-4. Against Stanford, UC Davis was rolling after the 1st period leading 5-1 and cruised to the season's first victory in front of many Aggie fans although it was an away game to a score of 8-4. The next day, Logitech Ice was packed with rowdy San Jose State fans with Aggie fans here and there. The Aggies found themselves down early 0-3 at the end of the 1st, but followed with two strong periods of hockey to break the shutout but lose 1-4. This was a re-acquaintance of sorts as UC Davis has not played San Jose State's top hockey team in a few years.
10/1/04: Your team suffered a tough loss to UC Berkeley 3-4 as the Aggies lead at one point 3-2. The game was filled with penalties (23 total between both teams) as the referees really clamped down on any infractions. Not to be lost in all this was Jeff Imahara's first career UC Davis goal and a great game played by the Aggies. We will look to rebound against UC Berkeley for a rematch on December 3rd at Berkeley.
9/28/04: Practices are tentatively Monday @ 10:45 PM and Wednesday @ 9:15 PM.
9/20/04: We're proud to announce that we have made the jump up from the PCHA (Pacific Collegiate Hockey Association) to the American Division of the PCHA.
webmaster: Andrew Le
last updated: 3/15/2004