Despite the unusually warm winter climate Provo is experiencing, BYU hockey is coming back from break with two big games this weekend against in-state rivals Utah and Utah State.
The Cougars their struggles early in the season, but have developed the winning attitude the coaching staff has worked to instill in the players in recent games. By notching victories over Boise State, University of Colorado-Denver and overtime matches against UNLV, the players have shown the talent that will be necessary to finish the season strong.
The team has responded to the leadership by veterans such as captain Adam Farero, Tanner Billingsley and Scott Johnson, playing tough defense and utilizing timely scoring to stay competitive.
The team has 11 games remaining on the schedule, with six of those being hosted at Seven Peaks, the Cougars’ home arena. The team has a 2-15-1 record on the season. Both of the wins came at home.
The Cougars are led in scoring by freshmen Tate Cowley and Tanner Grey, who have 17 and 11 points respectively. The two forwards have teamed up with sophomore Landon Ball to form the Cougars most productive line. The line was on the ice for nearly every goal scored in BYU’s last series, a road match against UNLV.
The team scored five goals in each of its last two games, showing an ability to respond to early goals by the other team and remain competitive. The Cougars will need to find a way to be more effective getting the puck past the goaltender in order to keep up this weekend against the high-octane offenses that Utah and Utah State have.
The Utes and Aggies have both had excellent seasons and are on pace to finish at the top of the West Division. The Utes have a 17-6-0 rec0rd on the season, averaging six goals per game.
Utah State has a 22-1-1 record, outscoring its opponents by an average of five goals per game. The Aggie roster is loaded with talent, fielding three of the top five point scorers in the country in Brendan MacDonald, Brian Gibbons and Tyler Mistelbacher.
Despite the success the opponents have had this season, the hockey team has kept its games against them entertaining and competitive. Fans can gain admission to the games starting at 7:30 p.m. both Friday and Saturday night. Tickets are available to students for $5.