Ducks fall in home opener to Bears, 9-6

EUGENE — It was a see-saw battle in Eugene on Friday night as the Ducks and the visiting Cal Berkeley Bears traded leads, but the game ended in favor of the Bears by a score of 9-6.

The Ducks’ Adam Susman drew first blood just 18 seconds in. Payton Barclay took possession of the puck behind the net and handed it off to captain Trevor Shott. Shott’s pass was intercepted by the Bears, but they couldn’t control it and the puck slid out to Susman at the point who slapped a shot on net that beat goaltender Ethan Crick five-hole.

The Ducks’ lead would hold through about half of the first period. After a stick save by Oregon netminder Noah Rosenberg, Gabriel Giammarco collected the rebound in the blue paint and passed it to the undefended Michael Leone. In what would be his first of five goals tonight, Leone capitalized on Rosenberg being out of position and tied up the game at 1-1.

Leone earned his natural hat trick by 13:36 of the period with two quick goals, the first of which came on their power play, giving Cal a 3-1 advantage.

Oregon cut that in half, however, only thirty seconds later when Shott took the puck through center and into the Bears’ zone and backhanded it around the boards to Chris Stankeivicz who threw it on net. The puck trickled through Crick’s legs but didn’t make it across the goal line and a scrambling Shott was able to nudge it the rest of the way in. The teams would skate into the intermission with the visitors holding a tenuous one-goal lead.

Most of the middle frame saw no additional goals scored, until 13:44 on a Ducks power play. Stankeivicz passed the puck around the boards to Shott who in turn funneled it to Derek Armstrong at center. The puck hit Armstrong’s shin pad, but he scooped up the rebound and backhanded it into the net.

Oregon would take a 4-3 lead thirty seconds later. Following a collision in the Ducks’ zone, Nathan Lutz pounced on the loose puck and raced in all alone up the left side of the ice. Lutz’s shot from the hashmarks went top corner over Crick’s glove.

It would only be another two minutes before the Ducks widened the gap. Warren Berg slid the puck to Shott in their own zone, who took it all the way up and with a nifty bit of stick-handling that fooled the goaltender, he earned his second tally of the night.

The next four goals belonged to the visitors. Michael Leone netted his fourth and fifth goals and Delfino Varela and Jeffrey Chen netted one each.

Shott cut into that dominance by completing a hat trick of his own at 16:57 of the third period. On the power play, Peter Shin passed cross-ice to Shott at the red line who took it up the left side and made another clever move in close that slipped past Crick and made the score 7-6, Bears.

Unfortunately, it would be the last of Oregon’s goals. With a pair of empty netters to seal the deal, Cal took the game by a final total of 9-6.

The Ducks complete their series against Cal tomorrow night at 7 p.m. at The Rink Exchange. Tickets are available for purchase at the door.