Fresh from a 7-2 victory Friday night, Oct. 4, Western Washington University’s hockey team beat Portland State University 8-1 on Saturday, Oct. 5.
After being named National Champions at last season’s National Association of Intercollegiate Hockey Championship, two wins in two nights puts the team off to another promising start this season.
Portland State scored its first and only goal 13 minutes into the first period, and was able to hold off Western’s 15 shots on goal to keep the score 1-0 at the buzzer.
Western came out with improved composure in the beginning of the second period, moving the puck fluidly across the fresh ice.
“After the first period we played really good,” head coach John Dougan said. “The energy level came up and we started playing our positions.”
Eight minutes in, Western’s Lee Walbeck scored with a shot from far out, straight to the back of the net, tying the game. Seven seconds later, Western scored again. Billy Holbrook tossed the puck in immediately after a faceoff to give Western a 2-1 lead.
These goals amped up Western’s energy, and the team pocketed four more goals throughout the period to gain a 6-1 lead over Portland State. Western scored two more goals during the third period to raise the game’s final score to 8-1.
“The first period we came out a little slow, a little flat footed, but we rallied after that,” right wing Kyle Neal said.
Playing Portland State two nights in a row helped Western get a feel for the other teams skills, Neal said.
“We just got to know the goalie a little better, got to know his weak points,” he said.
Western Hockey players look to keep momentum from their first two games as they head to Oxnard, Calif. for the Collegiate Ice Hockey Association’s West Coast Showcase.
“I am looking forward to seeing the team come together a little bit more,” Neal said. “We have got a long way to go, but it is looking pretty promising. We are playing some league games, with some pretty good teams. It’s going to be a battle.”