The BYU hockey team left the ice upset after falling to the University of Utah 12-5 on Friday and to Boise State University 4-2 on Saturday.
The Holy War proved to be a physical contest on Friday. The Cougars battled the Utes in Salt Lake City, but penalties overshadowed their gritty performance.
“We ran into a lot of penalty trouble,” BYU coach Jeremy Weiss said. “If you take away all the special teams goals for both teams it was a 6-3 game. So we didn’t kill penalties very well, and we didn’t do well on our power plays either.”
The team pleased Weiss with one aspect of its game against the Utes.
“We played unified as a team,” Weiss said.
On Saturday, David Gebert led the Cougars back from a 2-0 deficit. Team captains Tanner Billingsley and Mitch Facer set up Gebert’s first goal with two great passes near the end of the first period. The second period started on the same note with Billingsley and Cam Hymas finding a streaking Gebert for a breakaway goal to even the score. The Cougars continued to battle and had opportunities in front of the net but were unable to finish. Junior forward Brendan Hubbard cited individual play as the team’s biggest problem of the game.
“We had points during the game when we were dominating, but the times we fell back to the bad routines and the bad habits that we sometimes have, that’s what really lost it for us,” Hubbard said.
Weiss expected more of his team. Since the beginning of training camp he has preached team play.
“This is a team we should have beat,” Weiss said. “I think we are more talented than they are, and we played down to their level.”
While the offense had struggles with their play, BYU goalkeeper Ted Piorczynski gave the Cougars their season’s best performance in the net. Piorczynski stopped 30 of 34 shots for an .882 save percentage.
“Our goalies kept us in (the game),” Billingsley said. “They did what they needed to do. They are relying on us, and we didn’t support them in the end.”
The Cougars will have a bye next week, giving them time to get back in the right mental situation.
“We need to change our mindset to a winner’s mindset,” Billingsley said. “We need to play with some confidence and some swagger.”