The weekend of October 20, the Aggies’ first back-to-back home stand started off against UC Santa Cruz, whom the Aggies faced for the first time this season. Coming off losses in the first two games of the season, UC Davis was hungry for a win. Right off the bat, the Aggies took charge of the game with Chris Hamamjy’s first goal of the season, capitalizing on a slick pass from Kaz Machida. The Aggies would continue to find chances, but the Banana Slugs would find their rhythm and lock down their defense. Strong defense from the UCSC players limited the Aggies chances, but on the other side Timur Katsnelson’s goaltending kept the Aggies alive. The second period would see Machida score one, but Santa Cruz would match it to put themselves within one. After the end of the second, UC Davis locked down the defensive zone and stymied the Banana Slugs, while adding two more goals from Gunther Schuler and William Teeple to pull ahead. One late goal from the Slugs would cap the game off, ending 4-2 in favor of the Aggies, who clinched their first win of the season. Katsnelon would finish with 33 saves on the night in his first win.
The next night, the Aggies hosted San Francisco State University Gators. The Aggies got off to a rocky start, allowing two quick goals from the Gators. However, once they got their legs under them, the Aggies answered back. Goals from Kyle Armstrong and two by Kaz Machida brought the lead back to the home team, which they then lost on another Gators goal. The second proved much closer, and Machida scored another goal to complete a hat trick, allowing the Aggies to move ahead 4-3. Moving to the third period, another Gators goal threatened to derail the Aggies momentum, but Armstrong powered past the Gators’ defense twice to complete his own hat trick, while Machida added a fourth to finish off SFSU. A 7-4 victory meant goaltender Jordan Byrnes’ first win, and the Aggies’ first two wins of the season.
“It felt great to get those first two wins,” said Captain Kaz Machida after the win. “After last weekend, it was important for us to bounce back, and we did that.”
This past Friday, the Aggies traveled to San Bruno to once again take on the Banana Slugs. After their first two wins, UC Davis hoped to continue their recent stint of success. Though a sluggish start allowed UCSC opportunities, the Aggies found the net first on a quick shot from Kaz Machida. Sloppy play in front of the net gave UCSC one goal as well to tie the game. The teams would exchange goals again with a goal by William Teeple that was matched by one of the Slugs’ own, ending the first period at 2-2. The second period saw more intense puck battles, and after the Aggies killed off a penalty, Machida capitalized on an odd man rush to take the Aggies up by one goal. Going into the third period, though, UCSC bounced back, scoring two goals in succession. The Aggies were slowing down with their short bench, but a steal from Greg McDonald gave him space to take it across the rink and fire it in for his first goal of the season, tying the game. With the clock dwindling, it was none other than Kaz Machida who took the puck through three Banana Slugs to score a goal on an outstanding solo performance, giving UCD the late lead. It wasn’t over yet, as the Aggies took a penalty with 1:07 left in the game. But Timur Katsnelson held strong in net, and the Aggies hung on for their third straight victory of the season.
The next night, UC Davis drove to Santa Rosa to take on Santa Rosa Junior College. Their fatigue from the previous night was visible, as the Aggies gave up two quick goals in the first two minutes of the game. Sloppy play by Davis allowed SRJC to take charge, and they couldn’t hold back their potent offense. The first period would end 5-1, with the only goal by Kaz Machida. The second period saw much of the same, allowing four more to William Teeple’s one, ending the second period at 9-2. Though realistically out of the game, UCD sprang back to life in the third period, with Machida scoring two short-handed goals, and Teeple scoring one more near the end of the game. One extra from Santa Rosa ended the game, SRJC taking it 10-5.
“Well I think we came out harder the first game against Santa Cruz than we did the second,” said Chris Hamamjy. “ But both games I thought were good. It’s clear we’re learning how to play with each other.”
“All-in-all, there was a lot we needed to fix in this game,” said coach Niklas Braun after the loss. “We were just undisciplined. I think we’ll be able to clean this up a lot in the next couple of weeks. I’m happy with the last period, but we need to lock it down on the d-side.”
UC Davis has a 3-3 record going into the next weekend of games. This coming Friday, Cal Lutheran will make the trip to Vacaville to play the Aggies. Then on Saturday, Fresno will do the same as the Aggies face both teams for the first time this season.