|As the season winds down, it's time for the final road trip of the regular season.
The trip begins on Friday at 8:30 pm in Anaheim against USC. On Saturday, the Spartans face #10 Loyola-Marymount at 5:45 pm in Lakewood for what could be the most important game of the season. The trip wraps up on Sunday at 10:45 am against College of the Canyons in Valencia.
All three games will be streamed with video at Black Dog Enterprises. Jonathan Wold and Chad Oklin-Jolin are on the call.
KNOW YOUR ENEMIES
University of Southern California Trojans
The Trojans enter this game with a 12-9-1 record, a record quite similar to the Spartans. The difference is the strenghth of schedule. USC is winless this season against ranked opponents, but do have a 4-4 tie with #6 ASU-Pac 8. The Trojans are third, however, in the Pac 8 with a 10-5 record.
The Spartans and Trojans have not played this season, but gave the Spartans some trouble last season. All three games were decided by one goal, and USC was even able to take one of the games in the series.
The Trojans come into the game with three 30-point-scorers, led by Cory Newman (16 goals-23 assists-39 points). Harrison Xu has started the majority of the games in net for Trojans, going 6-8 with a 4.74 goals against average and an .858 save percentage.
#10 Loyola-Marymount University Lions
The Lions are perilously on the edge of the playoff picture, currently occupying the last spot that would get them to Regionals. They have a 11-8-2 record on the year.
Despite not having a marquee win this season, the Lions do have ties against #3 Utah and #8 Weber St. They do appear to be the best team in Southern California with a 6-3 record against the other ranked SoCal teams.
Kyle Martins has been putting on an offensive show for LMU with 26 goals and 22 assists in 21 games played. Trevor Tracy is right behind him offensively with 35 points - not to mention 60 penalty minutes. The Lions' starting netminder is Taylor Spesak, who has posted a 8-5 record with a 3.54 GAA and .863 save percentage.
College of the Canyons Cougars
The Cougars are former D3 national champions, but have really hit a rough spot the last few years. This season might be rock bottom. COC is a dismal 1-16 this year, getting outscored 182-25 in those games.
To be fair to them, though, their schedule would be a tough one for even good D2 teams. Their one victory came in Santa Rosa as they stole a game from a very strong SRJC team. When COC made the trip up to San Jose early in the season, the Spartans made quick work of them, winning 12-1 and 12-2.
The Cougars leading scorer is Peter Larson with 7 goals and 10 points in 15 games played this year. In goal, they've split time fairly evenly between Taiyoh London and Erik Alvarado. London is 1-6 with a 8.99 GAA and .813 SV%, while Alvarado is 0-10 with a 12.12 GAA and .772 SV%.
A few teams below SJSU in the rankings have had very impressive second semesters. Utah State, Weber State, and even potentially Denver could possibly jump ahead of the Spartans in the final ranking. That could potentially leave one spot for the Spartans and LMU to fight over. Could the Spartans postseason chances rest on their head-to-head meeting on Saturday?