Top seeded USC Trojans held off an upset attempt by the No. 4 ranked California Golden Bears. USC's Nikola Vavic converts the game winning goal for the Trojans with 1:38 left on an outside shot to secure the win for USC. Cal had three chances to tie the game, but they could not get the go-ahead the goal. One of the final possessions resulted in a turnover where USC stole the ball with 45 seconds left in the game.
Cal's last chance came with seven seconds left and the shot from just outside five meters nearly slipped under the arm of USC goalie James Clark, but he grabbed the ball before it went past the goal line.
Cal looked good early on and actually held a 3-2 lead after the first quarter, and led 4-2 early in the first quarter. The game was close the entire way, but the problem with Cal was their front court offense which was not effective at all as they scored only two natural goals, and one of those was a one on one fast break by Aleksa Saponjic in the fourth quarter.
The offense started clicking when Cal was earning ejections where they went 4-of-5 on power play chances. That is how they were able to hang in, and almost defeat the No. 1 team in the country.
Two key places where Cal came up short where they missed a pair of five-meter penalty shots, one was blocked and the other hit a cross bar. Had those two shots gone through, then Cal could have pulled off the upset.
Credit also needs to go to Cal goalie Jon Sibley who replaced team captain and starting goalie Justin Parsons who was suspended, and on Sunday had 12 saves. Plus, there was an amazing sequence where Sibley blocked four straight shots from basically point blank range.
The goal of the game, outside of the game winning score, came from USC's Kostas Genidounias. In the third quarter he was able to turn a pair of players two times in a row and score a goal from about two meters out. The way he just easily spun pass a pair of defenders was quick amazing, and his shot just zipped past the goalie.
This win for USC head coach Jovan Vavic was his 400th career win.
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