The University of Washington men’s hockey team concluded their 2009-2010 season on Saturday as the runner-up at the Pac-8 Tournament in Anaheim, Calif.
Making the league championship game for the second year in a row, the Huskies lost in heartbreaking fashion to USC by a score of 5-4.
In a game defined by momentum, the Dawgs led 3-2 after two periods, but were outscored 3-1 in a frantic final frame. The Trojans tapped in the winning goal with just 12 seconds remaining in the contest.
In spite of a fifth-place finish to close out Pac-8 regular season play, USC embarked on a remarkable three-game postseason run to win the league crown. The Trojans defeated crosstown rival UCLA in the quarterfinals, shocked first-place Oregon in the semis, then defeated the second-place Huskies in the finale.
Washington traveled a much different road to the championship.
As the second-place finisher in the regular season, the Huskies were granted a bye in the tournament quarterfinals.
In the semis, the team sneaked by Arizona State in a shootout, winning by a final score of 4-3. The game ended when freshman forward Dan Herda connected on the decisive goal after seven Husky skaters had already taken the ice. Just one month earlier, Herda ended a contest in similar fashion, unknotting a tie with a walkoff score in a shootout over the hated Oregon Ducks.
Alas, the magic would run out for the Dawgs in the title match. The Trojans recorded their only victory over Washington on the year. The Huskies had knocked off their rivals to the south twice during the regular season, doing so just four weeks prior.
Despite a bittersweet end to an otherwise-stellar season, the news wasn’t all bad for Washington. The team took home a number of individual awards to add to the trophy case. Head coach David Kell was named Pac-8 Coach of the Year; freshman forward Corey James won Pac-8 First Team honors; and defenseman Daniel Carson (So.), goalie Danny Dougan (So.), and forward Phil Harezlak (Fr.) earned Pac-8 Second Team recognition.