In late night hockey, the USC Trojans (7-2-1, 1-2) defeated the Oregon Ducks (0-3) in a thrilling 4-3 game in Eugene.
From the first drop of the puck, it appeared that the Ducks goalie Noah Rosenberg, who was making his first start of the season, would be facing trouble early. The Trojans converted on their first shot, taken within the first two minutes, to take a 1-0 lead. After making a save, the Trojans quickly pushed towards the goal and connected on their third shot of the game for a commanding 2-0 lead.
With 12:40 to go in the first period, the Ducks were attempting to throw the puck to the opposite end so they could make a substitution but the attempt was caught by a USC player and they quickly turned it into a goal. The Ducks were facing an uphill climb from there.
Despite surrendering that third goal, Rosenberg settled into the game giving the Ducks an opportunity to cut into the lead in the second period.
The Ducks took advantage of Rosenberg keeping the Trojans in check and early in the second period, and the Trojan lead was cut to two on a great shot by senior forward, Cody Drees. With just under three minutes to go in the second period, senior forward Zach Foss narrowly missed a chance to cut the deficit to one off of a backhanded pass from Trevor Shott in front of the USC net.
The Trojans took their two-goal advantage to the third and final period and they looked to add one more insurance goal to seal the game. It came in the form of a missed diving attempt by Rosenberg, who dove to try to claim the puck. He missed the puck and left the net wide open for the Trojans to take advantage and increase the lead back to three in what would end up being a very crucial goal.
Freshman forward Cavin McClare put a shot from nearly the blue line in the back of the net to make it 4-2 with 4:07 left in the game. The Ducks wouldn’t go away, adding another goal with 1:48 left in the game to make it a one-goal game.
With just under two minutes the action was primarily down in the offensive zone for the Ducks, but they could not convert one last time to force overtime.
The Ducks and Trojans will battle again Saturday night at 10:15 p.m.
Follow Zak Laster on Twitter: @zlast3445