Polar Bears win first game of season 7-4 over SJSU

Polar Bears win first game of season 7-4 over SJSU

Lachlan Irvine, Oak Leaf Hockey Analyst

It took five games overall, but just one in front of a home crowd.

The Santa Rosa Junior College Polar Bears beat the San Jose State Spartans 7-4 Oct. 22 for the club’s first victory of the season. John Keshishian led the way for the Polar Bears with a hat trick and an assist, while linemate Evan Hastings picked up a goal and two assists of his own.

The Polar Bears opened the scoring midway through the first period thanks to an SJSU penalty. On the ensuing power play, Larry Hansen grabbed a loose puck in front of the net to give SRJC a 1-0 lead, with Lane Beliveau and Josiah Nikkel getting the assists.

The lead was short-lived as the Spartans tied the game 15 seconds later. SJSU took a 2-1 lead on a deflected shot past Polar Bears goalie Steven Morton with just under eight minutes remaining in the first period.

This time it was the Polar Bears’ turn to spoil the party. Keshishian scored his first goal of the night 51 seconds later. Hastings and Alec Runge drew the assists on the tying goal.

Hastings and Keshishian swapped roles two minutes later, putting the Polar Bears out in front 3-2 to end the first period. Lane Beliveau earned the second helper on Hastings’ tally.

The goal chased Spartans starting goalie Edward Berlin from the net after surrendering three goals on just six shots. Austin Carnathan replaced Berlin for the rest of the first and the entirety of the second period.

In the second period, Nikkel gave the Polar Bears their first two-goal lead of the season thanks to a great feed from Colin Ridenour. But the Spartans didn’t back down, capitalizing on a power play at the midway point of the period to make it 4-3.

Late in the second period, Keshishian took over the game. He ripped a perfect wrist shot into the net with under four minutes remaining, and then scored his hat trick goal just a minute later to give the Polar Bears a 6-3 lead to end the period.

In the third period the Polar Bears went into a defensive lockdown, keeping the Spartans’ shooters at bay. Morton was a huge difference-maker for SRJC, making 44 saves on 49 shots.

Max Brownlee put the nail in SJSU’s coffin midway through the third period on a breakaway after a perfect pass from Ridenour. The Spartans made an attempt at a comeback, even pulling the goalie with more than eight minutes remaining. SJSU found the back of the net one more time with five and a half minutes to go, but it was as close as they would get.

The Polar Bears look to build on their first win in their next game when they host Santa Clara University Oct. 28 at Snoopy’s Home Ice.