Davis, CA- The second half of the 2018-19 season was one of the most successful runs for the UC Davis ice hockey team in many years. The rainy gloom and cold weather that winter quarter is annually paired with were overshadowed by a five-game winning streak, a trip to sunny southern California, memorable on-ice performances, and a remarkable postseason run.
Now that the season has come to an end, it will be worth looking back at how this year will be remembered and what the team accomplished. Here is a short summary of the key moments from every game this quarter:
Friday, 11 January 2019
UC Davis vs. Santa Clara University
Final Score: 4-3 L (OT)
Goals: Machida, Teeple, Teeple
The first game of the new year brought with it an exciting game, and more importantly a prelude of what was to come. Many students and friends of the Aggies made their way to Vacaville to cheer on the Aggies as they battled against a team which evenly matched their playing style. Davis battled back against a strong team to force overtime, but unfortunately their last goal would be in regulation. Despite the unfortunate breakdown that occurred in overtime, something about that game must have turned the fortunes for the team. The Aggies were set to leave the next weekend for southern California, and got all the confidence they needed to carry them for the rest of the season.
Friday, 18 January 2019
UC Davis @ UC San Diego
Final score: 8-4 W
Goals: Wood, Wood, Teeple, Hamamjy, Wood, Machida, Wood, Wood
505 miles, 505 smiles? 9+ hours of driving, sleeping, studying, and bonding. The Aggies really flexed their offensive muscles in this quite bizarre game. Sitting quaintly beneath a shopping mall food court, the ice at La Jolla was less than ideal. In addition to poor conditions and weary road legs, the team had to deal with having allowed a goal to a blatant case of goaltender interference. This proved to be more funny than disappointing however, as UC Davis never relinquished their lead throughout the game and won handily. Needless to say, freshman Travis Wood (#87) had a goal-scoring explosion, and his offensive prowess as a forward would propel the Ags for the rest of the season.
Saturday, 19 January 2019
UC Davis vs. Cal Lutheran
Final Score: 9-4 W
Goals: Hamamjy, Teeple, Machida, Machida, Teeple, Teeple, Hamamjy, Applegate, Machida
This was a special and emotional night for goaltender Timur Katsnelson (#31). Manning the crease at the other end of the ice was his brother, Ruslan. Both sported #31 for their clubs and battled it out for the first time in an official game. The Aggies continued to roll through their SoCal trip and came to a decisive victory in Simi Valley, CA.
Sunday, 20 January 2019
UC Davis @ Chapman University
Final Score: 11-5 W
Goals: a lot by a diverse group of Aggies, ask them who scored and they’ll let you know
In their final game of the SoCal trip, the Aggies showed up to Westminster Ice ready to win again. This game included a plethora of goals, a roughing penalty by Josh Mendelson (#70), the ejection of coach Robert Wood, and any other reason you would need to remember why you love hockey. By the end of this win, the Aggies were an impressive 3-0-1 during the winter quarter and enjoying every moment.
Friday, 25 January 2019
UC Davis vs. CSU Bakersfield
Final Score: 10-7 W
Goals: Wood, Machida, Polon, Wood, Machida, Teeple, Machida, Machida, Teeple, Wood
The winning streak continues, and this time the home fans got to see! The Aggies started the third period with a respectable lead, but watched it evaporate only a few minutes in. Following a timeout and a few coaching adjustments by Niklas Braun, the Aggies stormed back to regain the lead and this time they held on.
Saturday, 26 January 2019
UC Davis vs. Stanford
Final Score: 6-1 W
Goals: Teeple, Machida, Teeple, Machida, Teeple, Wood
This game featured a guest appearance from the famous Cal Aggie marching band, Band-Uh! Vacaville Ice Sports, better known as “the stable”, was packed with a rambunctious clambake of marching band members. The Aggies gave their fellow schoolmates a lot to cheer about, as they put up yet another dominant performance to earn their fifth straight win.
Friday, 1 February
UC Davis @ UC Santa Cruz
Final Score: 9-5 L
Goals: Safe to say- a few by Machida, Teeple, and Wood
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. Yes, even for the beloved Aggie ice hockey team. Dressing for their first career games in ACHA history were senior forward Kush Patel (#34) and freshman forward Jason Kollesavich (#3). The game at San Mateo started off well enough for Davis, as they went up 3-0 in the first period. At some point in the first, a Banana Slug fell on top of Timur Katsnelson, injuring the goaltender’s hamstring in the process. Katsnelson had to remain in net because no substitute was available. Santa Cruz stormed back in an impressive second period for them. That lapsed period would prove to be too much to overcome for Davis, and the streak ended at five. The Aggies suddenly had two injuries to Robert Polon and Timur Katsnelson, with only a few games left before playoffs.
Saturday, 2 February 2019
UC Davis @ Santa Clara University
Final Score: 6-5 L
Goals: Machida, Machida, Wood, Machida, Teeple
The Aggies battled to the end in this hard-fought game, and came up only one goal short of forcing overtime against a strong Santa Clara team. With multiple lead changes and a Machida hat trick, this game was a dandy.
Friday, 8 February 2019
UC Davis @ Santa Rosa Junior College
Final Score: 11-10 (OT)
Goals: Machida, Teeple, Teeple, Wood, Wood, Wood, Machida, Wood, Teeple, Teeple
Yes, this is not a realistic hockey score at all. It was a very good night for those who owned any of the Aggie forwards in fantasy hockey. Either way, the Aggies fell to the Polar Bears in dramatic fashion. In impressive fashion, freshman Travis Wood scored a natural hat trick to wrap up the first period. Ideally, with the offensive guns firing at the rate that they were that night, Davis would have been able to tighten up defensively and hold on through the third period. Still marred by an injured Katsnelson in net, SRJC stormed back and eventually clinched the win in overtime to send their fans home elated.
Saturday, 9 February 2019
UC Davis vs. UC San Diego
Final Score: 5-4 L
Goals: Wood, Polon, Teeple, Polon
This night was one of the most special ones of the season. In a home game marking the end of the regular season, Ryan Williams (#14) made his debut as a goaltender. With Katsnelson sidelined until playoffs, Williams was asked to strap on the pads and do the job himself. Normally a winger, this was not a subtle transition. However, Williams was incredible in net. The Tritons really pushed early in the game, forcing Williams to make save after save. The Aggies became energized by his incredible performance, and began to push the pace against San Diego. Robert Polon (#18) scored twice in his return to the lineup from injury.
The dates were set, the cabins were booked, and the team was ready. A season of both hard-knock losses and epic wins prepared the Aggies for playoff hockey in Lake Tahoe. Despite the efforts of the team presidents, including Aggie president Catherine Heyboer, the puck was not to be dropped in Tahoe. Heavy snowfall made it impossible for any team to make its way to the rink, so plans were made to reschedule.
All this set the stage for an opening round match-up against UC Santa Cruz on home ice for the Aggies. Well-rested, recovered from injuries, and energized by the home crowd, the Aggies roared to a decisive 13-1 victory over the Slugs to earn their ticket to the PCHA final the following morning.
Saturday, 2 March 2019
UC Davis vs. UC Santa Cruz
Final Score: 13-1 W
Goals: Applegate, Teeple, Teeple, Machida, Teeple, Wood, Wood, Applegate, Applegate, Machida, Teeple, Sloan, Teeple
This incredible win solidified the Aggies as one of the best teams in the league this season. Oddly enough, the game did not start off the way the lopsided score might indicate. A few minutes in, the first shot on Katsnelson (#31) trickled through his legs and gave Santa Cruz a 1-0 lead. That lead was short-lived however, because soon after sophomore defenseman Michael Applegate (#11) would score his first of three on the night. The floodgates opened and an offensive onslaught ensued. William Teeple (#80) scored five goals while Wood (#87) and Machida (#19) potted a pair each. In addition, junior forward Alex Fisher-Wagner (#8) earned his first playoff point on an assist to Teeple’s fifth goal. Katsnelson wouldn’t be too busy thanks to outstanding defense by Polon, Applegate, Heyboer, and Sloan, but he did stop all 18 shots he faced following the initial goal. Elated after victory, the Aggies celebrated a win that took them further than the club ice hockey team has gone in several years.
Sunday, 3 March 2019
UC Davis @ Santa Clara University
Final Score: 5-2 L
Goals: Wood, Sloan
Much like the other two games against SCU this quarter, the Adams Cup Final was a close one. A 5-2 final does not tell the whole story. UC Davis started off strong, and recorded 2 power play goals by Travis Wood and Alex Sloan during the first period. Katsnelson was tested throughout the game, facing 44 shots in the game. Every player in the lineup grinded, checked, and skated as hard as ever. The Aggies finished the second period up 2-1, but couldn’t hold off the strength and skill of the Broncos in the third period. After giving up three consecutive goals around the last ten minutes of the game, the Broncos added an empty-netter to clinch the championship. It was a frustrating loss for Davis, for all their effort and determination was simply not enough against a talented SCU team.
With how special the season had been going, it felt right that the Aggies had the opportunity to play in the championship game. Throughout the season, there were several moments that helped the team grow as a group and create dear memories. There are friendships in the locker room that will last a lifetime. The bonds formed between teammates is one of the many reasons hockey is so great. The progress of the practice players, impactful plays from new faces, and final hurrahs of graduating students are a reminder of the strengths of the sport, but more importantly, of the people playing it.
This club has a lot to look forward to. In the coming weeks, the presidency will transition to defenseman Robert Polon. He will have to assemble a team for next season, schedule games, and oversee all the logistics that come with running a sports club at Davis. However daunting it may be, one thing he will not need to worry about is the commitment from a small group of people. The same players who fought their way into the championship game are the same people who want to see the club, and the game itself, grow.