Long Beach, CA (U-WIRE) -- Thursday night at 9 p.m. the 49ers' Ice Hockey team will skate out onto the ice at Glacial Gardens looking for revenge against the San Jose State Spartans.
The Spartans' 12-1 record and fourth-place ranking might make some teams nervous, but not the 49ers.
"They should be the ones who are nervous," forward Joe Reinke said. "We are the better team. We should have beaten them last time and we will beat them this time."
Tonight's match-up is a key game for both teams. The results will affect each team's overall point total and consequently their standings. A definitive victory for the 49ers could put them above SJSU in the Division II ACHA West rankings.
The last time the team played a game was the weekend of Oct. 15 in San Jose. They split 1-1 for the weekend, losing 3-1 to the Spartans and defeating Palmer College 10-4. The game against San Jose could have gone either way, but a few missed scoring opportunities and an inability to finish strong cost LBSU the win.
LBSU has spent the last month tightening up their defensive zone coverage and perfecting their offensive zone entry. Head Coach John Cacciatore plans to stick with the changes he made last month after the SJSU game and make a few more.
The major change is to the power play units. So far this season the 49ers have not been capitalizing on their power plays. One unit has Andrew Kobzi centering Matt Schultz and Alex Florio with Brian Weinstein and Drew Farr at the points.
The other unit has Lighter and Phil Brown down low, centered by Kotowski with Jonny Shaffer and Ben Mitchell at the points.
"We have to get fired up, capitalize on the opportunities we create and finish strong to beat this team," Cacciatore said.
"The fans have everything to do with getting us fired up," assistant captain Ryan Feesago said.
When the 49ers played SJSU in San Jose, they were forced to play in front of a home crowd in excess of 300 fans.
"There is nothing like playing in front of a sell out home crowd," Brown said. "The coaches and our bench can only say so much to fire us up, at some point we need a second source of adrenaline, the cheers of the fans."
The game begins at 9 p.m. and is at the Glacial Gardens Ice Rink in Lakewood. The rink is behind the bowling alley off Carson Street near the Cherry Avenue intersection. For directions visit the team's website at www.csulb.edu/org/icehockey/
NOTES: The 49ers are giving back to the community of Long Beach this Holiday season by organizing a canned food drive to help feed the homeless. There will be a box where patrons can drop off cans stationed at the entrance to the game Thursday night. Fans should also look for drop off locations around campus and at area grocery stores in the coming weeks. Contact Todd Schapmire at email@example.com for specific locations or if you are interested in helping.
(C) 2004 Daily Forty-Niner via U-WIRE