BYU hockey travels to Salt Lake City on Saturday night for its 16th game of the season.
The game marks the third time the two teams have faced each other this season, with the Utes winning both games by a large margin.
BYU has tasted victory twice since the two teams last matched up, and the young team is beginning to understand what is necessary to win.
The coaching staff has preached mental discipline all season, in an effort to get the team to play a full game with as few mistakes as possible. The team has responded to changes in defensive systems, as well as changes in the lineup, to become much more competitive in recent games.
The Cougars have found success in recent games while running the neutral zone trap. The defense emphasizes discipline and reaction time, having defenders wait for the puck to move so that they can intercept it in route.
BYU is also taking a starter-by-reward approach in goal, with the competition for the starting spot open in practice. The team will stand behind whoever is playing better, and they said they feel confident that if they play to their potential, whoever is in net will have a chance to keep them in the game.
This is the first game for the team since their weekend series against Boise State, which they split 1-1. Both games were tied at the end of regulation thanks to come from behind goals, an impressive accomplishment considering the success of Boise State’s goaltender Dan Beaudreau. Breaudreau has a .91 save percentage this season and is one of the top goalies the team will face all season.
BYU will have to transition from the Boise State style of play to the pace the Utes use. The Utes are 11-2 at home this season, winning those games by an average of seven goals.
The Cougars will also have to rely on their familiarity with the opposing team and play to their systems in order to secure a win.