|The Spartans playoff plans hang on the edge of a cliff after coming up just short in two games against Boise State last weekend in San Jose. The #7 Spartans fell 3-2 on Friday and 6-3 on Saturday to the #4 Broncos.
Coming into the weekend, SJSU knew they had a good chance at locking up a spot in the regional playoffs if they could at least split the series with the higher-ranked Broncos. After Boise State lost 5-2 to Santa Rosa on Thursday, the Spartans were looking to take advantage of a possibly frustrated Bronco team.
Friday night, both teams started strong. After one of the most evenly matched 20 minutes of hockey this season, the Spartans and Broncos were still held off the scoresheet. In the second period, scoring picked up, with Boise's Brandon Kathan striking first.
SJSU responded with two goals. The first was an unassisted goal by Brant Haddon. Haddon caused a turnover at the Spartan blueline, and rushed up the ice with Sam Shayesteh on a 2-on-1. Haddon took the shot himself, scoring his 3rd of the year with 8:36 remaining. A few minutes later, SJSU took advantage of some penalty trouble Boise State was in. On a 4-on-3 powerplay, Luke Schneider defelcted a Nicholas Matejovsky shot to put the Spartans up 2-1 with 5:06 to go in the second.
Late in the second period, Boise State capitalized on a couple turnovers in the SJSU zone with two goals just 38 seconds apart. The Spartans trailed 3-2 heading into the second intermission. Neither team was able score in the third period either, giving Boise State the victory.
Shots finished 34-29 in the Bronco's favor. Mario Retana had 31 saves in the loss. On the bright side, the Spartans looked much more disciplined in this game than they did on their trip to Texas, taking only 3 penalties in the entire game.
Saturday night, these two teams picked up right where they left off, with another close first twenty minutes. This time, however, both teams were able to strike in the first frame. Boise State got up on the board first with a Josh Kicaid goal, followed by a Spartan goal from Spencer Archer. Cody Murphy and Schuyler Krawczuk had the assists.
In the second period, the Broncos regained the lead on a Matt Sanford shot, only to lose it minutes later when Krawczuk responded for the Spartans with a powerplay goal assisted by Murphy and Michael Stivers. Boise State was able to get a late goal to take a 3-2 lead into the second intermission for the second straight night.
The third period was where the wheels fell off for San Jose State. Already without the two D3 call-ups (playing their last SJSU D3 of the season), the Spartans lost Christian Rendino and Keanu Deguchi to injury in the game. Rendino was injured in the first period on a boarding penalty to Boise's Greg Chapman, who earned a 5 and a game misconduct for the hit. Deguchi appeared to injure himself in a collision with the boards.
Without those players, the Spartans had to improvise, moving forward Ian Seidl back to the blueline for the second and third periods. The Broncos were able to build on their lead this time in the third period with three goals. The Spartans had one third period marker from Cody Murphy (on a dump on net from the far blueline that bounced out of Josh Benton's glove into the net), but it wasn't enough. The Spartans fell 6-3.
Shots were even closer this time around, with SJSU edging out the Broncos 38-37. The Spartans fall to 13-11-1 on the season, with their playoff chances possibly coming down to their matchup against #10 Loyola-Marymount on Saturday.