Bruins conclude the 2012-13 season
The PAC-8 Championships, which took place over the weekend of February 8-10 in Anaheim, CA, marked the conclusion of the UCLA mens hockey team’s 2012-2013 season.
Entering the tournament, the Bruins had expected nothing less than winning a conference championship, but failed to reach the championship game after losses to #1 Utah and #6 USC. A significant improvement over the previous two losses to Utah during the Bruins’ PAC-8 home opener, the team challenged the #1 seed for a large portion of the 10am game on February 8th, ending the 1st period in a 1-1 tie and keeping the score through most of the 2nd at 2-2. In the defensive zone, cracks began to show, however, as the Utes surged to a 10-2 win.
Next, the Bruins faced the challenge of playing their second game in the same day, a 7:30pm match with the tournament host USC Trojans, who were entering their first game of the weekend. After a scoreless first, which featured many scoring chances for both teams, the Trojans got past goalie Al Ricciardelli twice in the 2nd period. That, however, did not discourage one of the better and most resilient Bruin teams of recent, as they responded with a string of three straight goals in the 3rd period of the game, their 6th period of the day, from their top line of Nick Panzica, Michael Carder, and Charlie Linehan. The veteran line, which included two players in Panzica and Carder that were playing in their final game for UCLA, gave the Bruins a 3-2 lead, their first lead of the game. That did not stop their LA counterparts, however, who were seeking revenge after losing the 2012-2013 Crosstown Cup earlier in the year to the Bruins, as they tied the game at 3 with a minute left in the game. After an inconclusive overtime period, the game went into shootouts, during which the Trojans prevailed 2-1. Goalies Eric Chiccone and Ricciardelli were equally spectacular, as the 2-1 shootout result was finally settled after the teams sent out their respective 7th shooters of the tiebreaker.
The following day, two Bruins were honored at the PAC-8 awards banquet, senior forward Michael Carder and senior goalie Al Ricciardelli. Carder finished his UCLA career with 1st Team honors. After earning 2nd Team nods the previous two seasons, the senior and four-year player finished the year with team highs in goals (16), assists (18), and points (34). Ricciardelli, one of the few starting Bruin goalies to win two Crosstown Cups in a four-year span, earned PAC-8 honors yet again, with a 3rd Team award. Ricciardelli was in net for all six PAC-8 conference wins and all three wins that clinched the Crosstown Cup over rival USC.
Ricciardelli will be back for a fifth and final year, while the Bruins will graduate two four-year players in Carder and forward Nick Panzica. The team wishes them the best in future endeavors and thanks them for the four years of hockey, during which they played and represented UCLA with sportsmanship, character, dedication, and passion.