|The #8 Spartans packed their bags and flew to Utah for 4 games in the Beehive Grill Showcase, co-hosted by Utah State and Weber State.
The Spartans managed to split the four game set with a few very impressive outings.
San Jose State started things off on Thursday with a game in Ogden against the #7 Weber State Wildcats. Coming into the weekend, this was likely going to be the most critical game in regards to the second ranking period.
The Wildcats started strong, as Jake Webber netted a powerplay goal in the first period, and then added another goal at even-strenght early in the second period to make it 2-0 Weber State 2:09 into the period.
The Spartans roared back though, scoring four unanswered goals. The first came off a Brant Haddon deflection of a Christian Rendino point shot. Haddon said he wasn't even sure if it hit his stick, but it was confirmed after the game by video review. It was Haddon's first goal as a Spartan.
Jacob Hickey would tie the game just 95 seconds later on a breakaway, going forehand backhand to make it 2-2 13:51 into the period.
The Spartans got some luck in the 3rd period when Schuyler Krawczuk scored on a shot from just across the blueline that was partially blocked by a Wildcat defenseman and fooled the Weber State netminder. Hickey also picked up an assist on the play.
SJSU topped things off with a put-away goal scored by defensman (yes, you read that right) Nicholas Matejovsky. Luke Schneider and Haddon had the assists. Mario Retana stopped 34 of 36 shots in the 4-2 win.
On Friday, the Spartans made the trip down to Logan as they took on the #2 Northern Arizona Ice Jacks. SJSU started strong, taking a 2-0 lead into the first intermission. Brant Haddon had a goal streak going as he had the deflection on a shot taken by Matejovksy. Ian Seidl had the secondary assist. Then, off a turnover at the blueline, Schneider raced ahead and went forehand-backhand himself to make it a 2 goal lead.
NAU was able to score three straight in the second and third periods, but the Spartans did not give up yet. After grabbing a pass from Matejovsky, Spencer Archer pulled up along the half-boards and saw an opening, wristing a goal home to tie the game at 3-3 and send it to overtime.
In OT, the Spartans couldn't convert on a powerplay, and NAU took that momentum, scoring on an odd-man rush to take the game 4-3. All in all, a great game to watch and one the Spartans were still proud of. Mario Retana had another huge night, stopping 37 of 41.
Day 3 saw SJSU take on the Texas A&M Aggies, their only unranked opponent of the weekend. The Spartans started slow, but were still able to take a 1-0 lead into the first intermission after Michael Stivers buried his first goal of the season, with assists going to Hickey and Seidl.
Coach Hazelwood and the team was able to make the right adjustments at the break, and the Spartans had a huge second period. Schneider and Seidl scored in quick succession early in the period with Matejovksy, Murphy, Archer and Rendino picking up assists.
A&M responded with a goal before SJSU scored again thanks to Schuyler Krawczuk. Matejovksy and Murphy again had the assists. After two, the Spartans led 4-1.
Archer picked up another goal for SJSU in the third, but things got a bit sloppy late and the Aggies were able to bring it to a 5-3 score before the Spartans eventually won it.
The weekend would be wrapped up with an early Sunday morning game against the #1 Arizona State (Elite) Sun Devils. The Spartans battled hard in the first period, only trailing 1-0 after the first period. The Spartans short roster ran out of gas in the second period, particularly evident by SJSU's first shot of the period not coming until 15 minutes in.
SJSU couldn't quite finish off a few powerplay chances in the late second and early third period, but did look a bit stronger in the final frame. It wasn't enough though, and ASU took the game by a 5-0 final score. Retana was credited with 32 saves in the loss.
The Spartans finished the trip 2-2, and played close enough with #1 and #2 that they could see an improvement when the second ranking periods come out after the weekend.