Sabers Face Weekend Setback with Back-to-Back Losses

by James Karr

The San Diego Sabers faced a tough weekend on home and away ice, suffering consecutive losses against the Long Beach Shredders and the Bakersfield Roughnecks.

Photo by Sophia Mitchell 

Game 1: Long Beach Shredders 5, San Diego Sabers 4

In a Friday afternoon showdown at Icetown Carlsbad, the Sabers found themselves on the wrong side of a closely contested battle, falling 5-4 to the Long Beach Shredders.

The first period set the tone for an intense matchup, with both teams exchanging goals. San Diego took an early lead with goals from Litzinger and Gouin, but Long Beach responded with goals from Wight and Flick. The second period saw the Shredders extend their lead, with Cherniak, Wight, and Trifonov finding the back of the net. The Sabers' Gill managed to close the gap with a goal, but Long Beach maintained a 5-3 advantage heading into the final frame.

The third period saw the Sabers mount a comeback effort, as Heskett pulled them within one. Despite their efforts, they couldn't complete the comeback, and Long Beach secured the 5-4 victory.

Shots on goal were nearly even, with Long Beach outshooting San Diego 54 to 52. Both teams had limited success on the power play, and goaltender Vedernikov faced a barrage of shots, making 49 saves in the losing effort.

The game was not without controversy, as Wight of the Shredders received a major penalty and disqualification for contact to the head, adding a layer of intensity to an already heated matchup.

Game 2: Bakersfield Roughnecks 7, San Diego Sabers 4

The Sabers faced another formidable opponent on Saturday, this time on the road against the Bakersfield Roughnecks at Valley Children's Ice Center. Unfortunately for San Diego, the Roughnecks emerged victorious with a 7-4 win.

Bakersfield's Hope and Faucher found the back of the net in the first period, but the Sabers responded with power-play goals from Weiner and Almanza, tying the game at 2-2. In the second period, the Roughnecks took control, scoring three goals to San Diego's one. Verstegen managed to score on the power play for the Sabers, but Bakersfield extended their lead.

Entering the third period trailing 5-3, the Sabers fought back, with Frizado scoring a shorthanded goal to narrow the gap. However, Bakersfield's McCoy sealed the deal with an empty-net goal, securing the 7-4 win.

Despite being outshot 72 to 22, the Sabers had success on the power play, converting on two of their four opportunities. Goaltender St-Denis-Lacombe made 34 saves, but it wasn't enough to overcome the offensive onslaught from Bakersfield.

After a demanding stretch of games, the Sabers are set to enjoy a well-deserved brief respite, marking their first break since the commencement of the 2023-2024 season back in late September. The team is scheduled to resume action on Saturday, December 2nd, where they'll hit the home ice for a rematch against the Bakersfield Roughnecks in a single-game showdown. Be sure to catch the excitement as the puck drops at 8 PM at Icetown Carlsbad. 

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