It is an old adage in sports: In order to be the best, you have to beat the best. That is exactly what the CSU hockey team is out to do in the weeks ahead.
The second ranked Rams will close their regular season over the next three weeks, playing all top five teams within that span. This is following a weekend where the Division-II Rams split two tight games with Division-I University of Arizona, improving their record to 11-3-2 on the year.
"We had a great weekend to start the second half of the year," said junior winger Jared Hillier. "Our plan and goal is to win both games this weekend and take over number one in the West."
That is a destiny the Rams can control. The fifth ranked Eastern Washington Eagles (14-3-4) will come to Edora Pool and Ice Arena (EPIC) on Friday night,before the No. 1, nearly perfect San Jose State Spartans (22-0-1) make a visit Saturday night.
The only blemish on the Spartans record this season is the 1-1 tie they received at the hands of the Rams on Oct. 29 in San Jose. The Rams are 0-1-1 against them on the year. Both games were played at San Jose.
"We're getting ready for San Jose State, but we're not looking past Eastern Washington," said senior goaltender Jeff Ronkoske.
The Rams are scoping out the No. 1 seed heading into the regional tournament, which begins Feb. 16 in San Jose. In order to do that they will have to win this weekend as well as the following two weekends where they will have home meetings with Denver University (10-4-1) the University of Colorado (9-5-1), ranked third and fourth, respectively.
"Our goal for this weekend is to kick the crap out of Eastern Washington, and the same to San Jose State on Saturday," said Rams head coach Joe Sharrock.
The Rams this season have fed off crowd noise. In their win this weekend at Arizona, they saw the largest crowd of the year.
"The crowd is what really gets us going," Ronkoske said. "There were like 4,000 people there Saturday night, and I think it was one of the most intense games we played in a long time."
Friday, EPIC 7:30 p.m. vs #5 Eastern Washington U.
Saturday, EPIC 7:30 p.m. vs #1 San Jose State U.
Tickets $3 for students with ID