Southern California first-year forward Will Torgerson came up big this weekend. He netted three goals and added three assists while sophomore defenseman Keegan Jones did the same as the Trojans won thrilling back-to-back games against the San Jose State Spartans to move to 4-1 this season.
After the teams skated to a scoreless first period in Game 1, the Trojans fell behind midway through the second. At 10:01 into the second period, Kevin Scott found a loose puck in a scrum in front of USC goaltender Jeremy Blaustein and scored to give the Spartans the lead. 13 seconds later Nicholas Romeo scored on a rebound for San Jose State to bring the lead to two.
With under three minutes remaining in the second period, Keegan Jones picked up a pass from John Mendillo and flicked a quick wrist shot from the blue line catching Spartan goaltender Edward Berlin off guard, cutting San Jose State’s lead to one.
The Trojans would tie the game on a goal from Chase Thesman who followed his own rebound and dug it out of a pile of players to score on his second attempt. Thesman, who spent more of the 2017-18 season at center has played the majority of the 2018-19 season on defense, which hasn’t stunted his offensive output.
Nicholas Veren would take back the lead for the Spartans 13:23 into the third period on an unassisted goal, but San Jose State could not maintain their lead.
With 1:01 remaining for the Trojans to tie the game, Will Torgerson would bring the heroics.
After Edward Berlin made a stunning kick save, sliding from left to right to conserve the Spartans one-goal lead, Chase Thesman picked up the rebound from the corner. As Jeremy Blaustein vacated the net for the extra man, Thesman skated in front for a shot, which bounced to Torgerson who scored to tie the game.
Then just under a minute into three-on-three overtime, Thesman caught San Jose State making a poorly timed change, skating from the top of his own faceoff circle all the way in on Berlin firing a low shot that rebounded right to Torgerson who scored on a wide-open net for the 4-3 victory. Trojan goaltender Jeremy Blaustein made 20 saves on 23 shots while Berlin stopped 43 out of 47 shots for San Jose State.
Game 2 saw the Trojans and Spartans trade three different leads in a heavily penalized game. The ACHA’s increased focus on stick infractions resulted in 24 penalties between the two teams, including 10 slashing penalties and a misconduct.
The Chase Thesman opened the scoring for the Trojans with a short-handed goal eight minutes into the first period. Just over a minute later and on the powerplay, Trojan sophomore Max Jablonski forced a turnover inside the Spartan blueline, springing Thesman on a two-on-one. Thesman’s shot found its way under Berlin’s blocker for the 2-0 USC lead.
San Jose State struck back in a big way, first on a point shot by William Hoffman that snuck by USC goaltender Cameron Podd and then on fluky goals by Michael Coelho and Ryan Lothman. All three Spartan goals came within the span of a minute to close out the first period.
Thirty-seven seconds into the second, former teammates in Minnesota, Torgerson and Jablonski combined for the game-tying goal as Torgerson took a rebound off the stick of Jablonski and converted the off-balance shot past Berlin.
The Trojans took back the lead twice more during the period only to have the Spartans draw even both times.
With the game tied midway through the third period, Andre Voloshin took a pinpoint backdoor pass from Chase Thesman at the point and faked to his backhand to score the game winner. Andrew Philps and Keegan Jones each added goals to bring the final score to 8-5 Trojans.
Trojan Goaltender Cameron Podd recovered from a shaky start where he allowed three goals on five shots to finish with 20 saves on 25 shots. The Trojans travel to Skating Edge Arena in Los Angeles to take on Loyola Marymount University Thursday.