IceCats expecting physical weekend

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    By Matthew Hargreaves

    Any physics student knows that when two forces of equal strength run into each other, it will result in a violent physical collision.

    This definitely applies to this weekend”s games with the Provo IceCats and Northern Colorado Bears.

    “Both of our teams have similar records and have similar sizes of players,” assistant coach Patrick Perrett said. “It will be a hard-hitting, physical match up. It should be a pretty even.”

    Both teams come into the games with convincing victories this past weekend. The Bears crushed the School of Mines, a university 30 miles west of Denver, 10-1.

    Provo devoured the New Mexico IceWolves 10-1 Saturday night Jan. 25, including a hat trick by sophomore center Jimmy Burkhart.

    Despite the many similarities between the teams, there are some situations where the IceCats look to exploit some advantages.

    “Special teams play is an area we can do well in,” Perrett said. “We have worked a lot on special teams, and look to capitalize on those situations.”

    In hockey, the special teams involves power plays for the offense, and penalty-killing situations for the defense.

    During recent weeks, the IceCats have lost some games because of untimely penalties. This weekend, the team looks to play a disciplined game so it can have more situations on the power play.

    Provo has been working with assistant coach Kevan Guy to improve its systems play, which should cut down on the number of odd-man rushes for the opposition.

    Systems play is hockey”s equivalent to running set plays in basketball and football.

    Since there is no way to know where offensive and defensive players will be at a given time, systems play allows players to have a general strategy to work from. It provides some cohesiveness to an otherwise chaotic scene on the ice.

    Coach Perrett is convinced that systems play is the key to the game.

    “We”re a disciplined team, and we should be in better shape,” Perrett said. “If we play our system, we should win.”

    Provo can look to several players that have been playing well for some needed offense against a physical NCU team.

    Jimmy Burkhart, Jason Griffiths, Greg Ingram and Casey Bacon all have the ability to make contributions this weekend.

    In addition to the developing rivalry, IceCat players also look forward to playing in front of their home crowd again. Many of the players said it helps them play better to be in front of family and friends.

    “It”s fun playing in front of my family,” freshman winger Jason Griffiths said. “I usually play well when my mom is watching.”

    The game on Friday night, Jan. 31, will be broadcast on NewsNet.

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