PRESS RELEASE / ANNOUNCEMENTS Monday, February 29, 2016

UCSB Gauchos Club Ice Hockey Makes NCHA California Cup Championship Game

This past weekend Ice in Paradise hosted the 2015-16 National Collegiate Hockey Association South Western Conference Playoffs. Entering the playoffs as the #4 seed, the Gaucho Ice Hockey Team squared up against #5 UC San Diego Friday night in the quarterfinals. After giving up an early goal, UCSB found the back of the net for the equalizer late in 1st period. The Gauchos came out strong in the second period, dominating the pace of play with their physicality and strong puck control and were able to put another point on the board to take the lead. Throughout the third period, the Gauchos continued their physical play and successfully shut down UCSD to come away with the win in what was a close, physical, and hard fought period.
In the Semifinals on Saturday, UCSB faced off against the #1 ranked California Lutheran University Knights who, entering the playoffs as the #1 seed, had earned a first round bye. The Gauchos entered the game as huge underdogs, battered and bruised from their bout against UCSD the night before and short one of their starting defensemen who sustained a season ending knee injury in the previous night’s contest.
In spite of the expectations that others may have had for the game, the Gauchos came out hard matching CLU goal for goal in the first two periods to enter the third period all tied up 5-to-5. With fatigue playing a factor against the more rested CLU team, UCSB gave up two early goals in the third period. Things were not looking good for the Gauchos as the clock ticked down to two minutes left in regulation. In a bold move, UCSB pulled their goalie upon gaining control of the puck in their own defensive zone with just under two minutes to play, giving them an extra attacker but leaving their own net unprotected. The Gauchos were able to maintain control and get the puck deep in the CLU zone where they scored a key goal with just over a minute left in the game. Still down a goal, UCSB won a crucial faceoff and again pulled their goalie in an all or nothing attempt. The Gauchos dug deep inside to find strength to battle, fighting for the puck with every ounce of strength they had and, amazingly, found the back of the net to tie it up with just 39 seconds left in the game! In the waning moments of the game, CLU put the pressure on, forcing the Gauchos back on their heels and peppering the UCSB goalie with multiple shots. The crowd was silent as UCSB gave everything they had to defend the CLU onslaught. Determined not to let their efforts be in vain, the Gauchos forced a turnover that turned into a 2 on 1 odd man rush toward the CLU defensive zone forcing the lone Knight defender to take a tripping penalty in the final seconds of regulation. This would be crucial as the Gauchos entered the overtime period a man up on the powerplay. The Gauchos capitalized on this advantage and scored the game winning goal to upset the top ranked team in what was the most exciting come-from- behind win in the programs history; earning a spot in the Championship Game.
UCSB faced off against the #2 seed Chapman University, who also had the benefit of a bye in the playoffs. The Gauchos stayed true to form and put forth an amazing effort against the Cardinals, staying in the game until the very end, but were unable to find the back of the net in a game that was much closer than the 5-0 score reflected. While they didn’t take home the California Cup, the UCSB Gauchos Ice Hockey Team who entered the playoffs as underdogs, put on a truly spectacular display of effort, determination, and a never-give-up attitude in keeping with the Gaucho tradition to make a run to the Championship and capture the NCHA Playoff Runner-Up honors in their first season at their new home rink Ice in Paradise. With the momentum the Gauchos created in their amazing playoff run, a large number of the team returning next season, and the excitement of freshman and transfer prospects; The Gauchos are poised to be a force to be reckoned with next season. Huge congratulations to the team on being the 15-16 NCHA Runner-Up!
A proud UCSB Ice Hockey Alumni from the 2010-11 team.

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