Feb. 2-4: Sabers win series vs Lakers

by Lyanna Yeow

The San Diego Sabers faced the Lake Tahoe Lakers at Icetown Carlsbad in a three-game series. The San Diego Sabers won two of the three games, winning 5-4 on Friday and 4-2 on Saturday. The Lake Tahoe Lakers won game three with a final score of 4-1 on Sunday. Although the last game of the series did not go in the Sabers’ favor, they still had a successful three-game series overall. 

Friday, February 2, 2024

Game 1: San Diego Sabers 5, Lake Tahoe Lakers 4

The three-game series started strong with the Sabers winning a close game on home ice with a final score of 5-4. It was not an easy battle as the Lakers kept answering back whenever the Sabers scored. The Sabers were the first on the board after Tyler Riegle scored the first goal of the period, assisted by Lukas Verstegen and Ryder Heskett with Lakers Cebald Debiak in the net. The Lakers then took the lead after they scored 2 goals towards the end of the period. The first period ended 2-1 in favor of the Lakers. 

Sabers’ Jacob Therrien was able to tie the game with a short-handed goal assisted by Tristan Frizado and Justin Ouellet at 15:42. The Lakers answered back roughly two minutes later, taking the lead once again and finishing the second period 3-2. 

In the third period, the Sabers’ Heskett scored a power-play goal 48 seconds into the period, assisted by Tim Gradin and Mario Paganini which tied the game momentarily. When the Lakers scored again at 3:09, Paganini answered back 58 seconds later with a goal assisted by Frizado and Ouellet to keep the game tied once again, making it 4-4. The Sabers were able to take the lead as Jackson Litzinger scored a powerplay goal, assisted by Paganini and Frizado at 5:40, making the final score 5-4. 

In the end, Litzinger’s powerplay goal would be the game-winning goal as the Sabers held onto the lead throughout the rest of the third period. Vedernikov, the Sabers’ goaltender, faced 55 shots and made 51 saves which was enough to secure winning game 1 of the series. 

Photo by Lyanna Yeow

Saturday, February 3, 2024

Game 2: San Diego Sabers 4, Lake Tahoe Lakers 2

Game 2 of the series ended in another victory for the Sabers as they won against the Lakers with a final score of 4-2 on First Responders Night. Ryan Robison, a representative of the Carlsbad Police Department, participated in a Ceremonial Puck Drop before the start of the game. 

Photo by Fiona Long

Although scoreless, the first period was even split regarding penalties amongst both teams. Neither team was able to capitalize on their powerplay opportunities during this period with Cebald Debiak in net for the Lakers and Stepan Vedernikov for the Sabers. 

Paganini scored a goal assisted by Litzinger and Gradin 38 seconds into the second period. The Sabers continued to carry their momentum to score another goal (G: Tristan, A: Matyas Toulec and Litzinger). The Lakers answered back with a short-handed goal at 13:20 and then a powerplay goal at 19:41 which tied the game 2-2 by the end of the second period. The Sabers received 2 penalties during the second period while the Lakers received 1.

The goal-scoring during the third period remained at a standstill and there were 4 penalties during the first 12 minutes and 48 seconds of the period. The Sabers had the first two penalties (2 minutes for boarding and a 5 minute major for contact to the head) while the Lakers received two penalties (2 minutes for interference and roughing). Both teams were unable to take advantage of their powerplay opportunities during this time. At 12:49, Sabers’ Zach Hawley scored a powerplay goal which was assisted by Markus Gill and Therrien which helped the Sabers to take the lead. Both teams received a roughing penalty at 14:57 which led to two minutes worth of 4-on-4 hockey. Litzinger scored an empty net goal at 19:11, assisted by Toulec and Paganini, securing the lead and ending the game 4-2.

In the end, Lakers’ Cebald Debiak saved 29/32 shots while Sabers’ Stepan Vedernikov saved 59/61 shots. Hawley’s powerplay goal in the third period would be the game-winning goal and Litzinger’s empty net goal would secure the win for the Sabers. 

Photo by Lyanna Yeow

Sunday, February 4, 2024

Game 3: Lake Tahoe Lakers 4, San Diego Sabers 1

Game 3 of the series was when the bottled-up tempers from the past two games flared and resulted in multiple penalties and an unfortunate loss for the Sabers. 

In the first period, there were 2 misconducts (unsportsmanlike conduct), 2 disqualifications, and 4 roughing penalties. The Lakers were able to score a powerplay goal and the Sabers were unable to answer back, ending the first period 1-0. 

The Sabers remained scoreless during the second period while the Lakers were able to score another goal 1 minute and 18 seconds into the second period (2-0). 

Although Toulec was able to score a goal at 1:31, assisted by Frizado and Paganini making the score 2-1 at the beginning of the third period, the Lakers took control of the rest of the period which resulted in them scoring 2 more goals. The Sabers had an unsuccessful penalty shot attempt during the third period as they were unable to score on Rasmus Ronnqvist, the Lakers’ goaltender. The final score after the third period was 4-1 with 4 unsportsmanlike misconducts throughout the period as well as 4 roughing penalties towards the end of the period. 

The Sabers and Lakers were almost evenly matched in regards to shots on goal (LTL 45, SDS 47) and both teams did struggle on the powerplay overall, going 0-for-6 for the Sabers and 1-for-6 for the Lakers.  However, the Lakers were able to capitalize on one of their powerplays. The Sabers’ goaltender, Loïc St-Denis-Lacombe, saved 43 out of 47 shots by the end of the game. 

Despite losing the last game of the three-game series, the Sabers secured 2 wins at home and had a successful three-game series overall. 

The Sabers are scheduled to face the Bakersfield Roughnecks at Valley Children's Ice Center in Bakersfield, CA on Friday, February 9 at 7:30 PM and on Sunday, February 11 at 12:00 PM.