San Jose, CA -- It was a thrilling showdown against the San Francisco State Gators. The Aggies tied 4-4, but that didn’t curb anyone’s excitement about the fact that they had just played at the SAP Center- home of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks and their AHL affiliate San Jose Barracuda.
As the team has many Sharks fans, this opportunity was especially remarkable. “This was something that I could not stop thinking about as soon as I found out we were going to play here. The idea of playing in the same crease as Irbe, Nabokov, Niemi, Jones, Reimer, and so many other world-class goalies was so exciting” said goaltender Timur Katsnelson.
The game started with an unfortunate hit that ended defenseman Robert Polon’s night early. The first few minutes of the game belonged to the Gators, who stormed out and put pressure on the Aggies early. Their initial push was rewarded with a penalty taken by Aggie rookie Tryssa De Ruyter, a minor for tripping.
The Ags killed off De Ruyter’s penalty, then missed an opportunity to cash in on their powerplay chance. The first period ended scoreless.
Finally, Teeple broke the ice with a breakaway goal in the second period. The Aggies took a 2-0 lead halfway through the game with another strike by Chris Hamamjy.
The Gators reignited the attack they started with and scored three consecutive goals to make it 3-2 at the early stages of the third.
Following strong saves on a flurry of shots by goaltender Jordan Byrnes, forward Greg McDonald crashed the net to tap in a rebound and tie the game midway through the third. Following another goal by the Gators, Kaz Machida tied the game yet again on what would be the final tally of the night.
In a game that could have gotten out of hand the potential distractions, an injury, and a determined opponent, the Aggies managed to find their focus and finish strong with a comeback tie.
Opportunities to play in a game like this don’t come often, so the Aggies had many friends and family in the crowd make the trip to SAP Center.
“I’m really glad we had so many people join us for this special night, it wouldn’t have been as fun without them” said head coach Niklas Braun following the game.