No. 2 UCLA's defense stages two-period shutout to beat No. 3 UCSB
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- No. 2 UCLA avenged an earlier loss to third-ranked UC Santa Barbara by posting a 10-5 win on Saturday. The Bruins improved to 18-2 overall and 2-0 in MPSF play while UCSB dropped to 14-5 overall and 0-2 in league action.
Senior goalkeeper Matt Rapacz had nine saves while junior Lucas Reynolds, senior Josh Samuels, sophomore Daniel Lenhart and junior Chris Wendt each scored twice to lead UCLA.
The Bruins got on the board first when Wendt scored on a power play with 5:29 left to make it 1-0. But the Gauchos evened it at one with a goal from Teddy Zhang at 5:16. Samuels gave the Bruins a 2-1 lead with 1:42 to go in the first. But UCSB tied it again at two with a goal by Brendan McElroy with 1:23 left and then took a 3-2 lead to end the scoring in the first period on a power play goal with 18 seconds left.
"We had 10 days to prepare for them and I thought we played very hard," UCLA head coach Adam Wright said. "The last time we played them, our overall awareness was not very good. So after watching a lot of film, I was very pleased today with our effort. We had great communication and good overall awareness, which usually leads to good defense."
The Bruins' defense went to work, pitching a shutout in the second period to take a 5-3 lead into halftime. Samuels tied it at three with 7:09 left on a 6-on-4 opportunity. Wendt made it 4-3 with a power play goal at the 3:27 mark. Lenhart ended the second quarter scoring at 5-3 with eight seconds left as the Gauchos were returning to full strength.
UCLA also dominated the third period, extending its lead to 9-3 with another shutout while scoring four goals. Reynolds made it 6-3 at the 6:41 mark, followed by senior Griffin White's only score of the day to make it 7-3 with 5:04 left in the third. Then Lenhart scored his second power play goal of the day to put the Bruins up 8-3 with 3:23 remaining. Junior Aimone Barabino ended the third period scoring with his only goal of the day with 2:10 left to make it 9-3.
Reynolds gave the Bruins their largest lead of the day at 10-3 with a goal with 6:25 left in the fourth quarter. McElroy scored his second of the day for UCSB to make it 10-4 with 3:57 left. Dylan Baliani ended the scoring at 10-5 with a goal at the 3:03 mark of the final period.
The Bruins' defense was the difference, holding UC Santa Barbara to 1-for-10 on power plays with Rapacz picking up a huge stop in the third period on a penalty shot. Meanwhile, the Bruins converted 7-of-11 extra man opportunities.
"I thought the biggest difference (from the earlier loss at UCSB) was our defense," Wright added. "Our defense was the way it needs to be. The major thing was that our transition defense and our frontcourt defense and our overall defense was excellent."
Rapacz played the entire game in the cage for UCLA, picking up nine saves. Gaucho goalie Myles Christian was credited with 14 saves for UCSB.