Simple math says that if you don't allow your opponent to score, there is no way you can lose. The CSU Ram hockey team (13-3-2) did just that over the weekend, scoring nine goals in two key wins while holding the opposition scoreless.
Junior Jeff Ronkoske and sophomore Brian Minor played as well as can be asked of a goaltender, combining for six periods of shutout hockey against two of the top teams in the west.
"Before the second game (Saturday) I said to go out and top Ronko," said head coach Joe Sharrock, on motivating his goalie. "He said, 'Coach I can't top that, it's a shutout."
But if you can't top it, match it, right? Minor responded with a shutout performance of his own, giving the Rams their first two shutouts of the season.
Friday night, sophomore defenseman Jake McFarland got the scoring started late in the second period notching what would prove to be the game winner against Eastern Washington (15-4-4). The team added three more goals in the third getting help from 13 Eagles penalties.
"Big boy Jake laid down the law," said junior center Brian Mumford. "We wanted to play hard defense first, and we came out strong."
Mumford tallied a goal just two minutes and 28 seconds into the second period on Saturday night, earning himself a game winner over top ranked San Jose State (23-1-1) in a battle of the top two ranked teams in the country.
The win not only redeemed a 10-2 loss suffered at the hands of the Spartans earlier in the season, but it ended San Jose State's chances at a perfect season.
"The last time we played them we got destroyed," Minor said. "We tried to prove to them we deserve to take over one in the west."
While San Jose State remained on top of the rankings, the Rams did inch closer to first place and stole a vote away from the Spartans. Up next for No. 2 CSU, is a weekend at home with No. 3 Denver University (12-4-1), who will be visiting on Friday night.
"I think this is the best defense we have played in a long time," Minor said. "It was the best weekend we have had so far. We're playing our best hockey right now."