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The Cal Bears play in the PAC-8 Conference - the same league as the PAC-10 (except without Oregon State and University of Arizona). The 2008-2009 Conference Championship Title was earned by the Oregon and at the bottom of the basement were your California Bears...
The 2009-2010 season was welcomed inevitably as a "rebuilding" year. The Cal Bears roster seemed to resemble that of swiss cheese - holes everywhere. Lack of a dominant 1st line, check. Lack of goaltending - big check. Lack of depth, check. After finishing last season with a mere 3 Wins, hopes were high for this new season but the team kept reality at its side too. Afterall, even with some key additions, going 500 on the season (having more wins than losses) would still be a phenomena. Last season, the Bears lost to Loyola Marymount University by over 15 goals - absolutely absurd for a hockey game. This season the Bears opened up against LMU and lost 3-5. Big improvement? I'd say.
Cal Ice Hockey has made a tremendous turn around. Last season the team barely had enough players to ice a lineup for any game. This season the Bears boast a 6-3-1 (wins, loss, overtime loss) record, which includes wins over USC, UCLA, ASU, Gonzaga, UC Davis and Sacramento State.
The team once again boasts a "Gold Line" of dominant forwards: #10 JP McNicholas, #9 Wes Borja and #88 Keiskue Teeple - all new faces to the team and all members of the Bear's top line. The return power of the team's core offensive outputs - #41 Alex Gordon and linemate #11 TJ Wynn - both Seniors, has given the Cal the punch up front they have needed. These Bears know all too well who they play for and the pride is evident on the ice. Gordon skated as both a centerman and defenseman in the recent road trip to Arizona State University to fill the need. Imagine running 1 mile as fast as you can in order to save your life - and immediately afterwards being forced to do it again. That's what it's like to play center and defense in one game. Despite not being 100% recovered from a knee injury, Wynn put more importance in the famous Cal script he wears on the front of his jersey than ever and as a result netted the game winner against ASU on Halloween night. Imagine not being able to walk or run freely - but then having to rub through an obstacle course while people try and hit you - well that's what it's like to play ice hockey with a leg injury.
Quite possibly the biggest improvement has been goaltending as the Bears boast dominant soldiers in the crease. Freshman Mat Bloomfield #39 and Senior new comer Peter Tartaglia #33 have given the Cal squad an opportunity to win every single game. Bloomfield has posted better statistics than his counterpart Tartaglia - however, the pads and reflexes of both have proven to be challenging to opponents.
Stay tuned for an update as to which goaltender will start Friday night against Santa Clara.
*****BREAKING NEWS as of 6:30PM:
#33 Peter Tartaglia will starting in net!*****
The Cal Ice Hockey organization would like to thank its volunteer and staff for an amazing turn around season. We would like to thank new comers JP McNicholas, Wes Borja, Keisuke Teeple, David Carlson, Ian Stewart, Mat Bloomfield, Peter Tartaglia and rookie Grant Brown for their contribution. And most importantly, the players who have played the biggest part in turning their team around from 3 wins last year to a 6-3-1 season this year: Captain Dan Sulitzer (#24), TJ Wynn (#11), Matt Henry (#8), Alex Nieu (#25), #41 Alex Gordon, and Assistant Captain #5 Nate Dewindt.
Come watch all of these young men continue their success as students and members of the Cal Ice Hockey team Friday night at 7:15pm. The game will end early enough for you to scurry back to Berkeley and boast about the school's hockey team to whichever Friday night party you end up at. Where ever you go, just make sure going to the Oakland Ice Center at 518 19th Street in Oakland is in your plans!