BYU hockey on the road

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BYU hockey is looking for more even after improved defensive effort over the last few weeks.

The last time the Cougars faced the Broncos the game proved an equal match with the teams trading goals through the first two periods of the game before the Broncos pulled away. The Cougars struggled with familiarity of their strategy in the first game something BYU Coach Jeremy Weiss said his team has improved upon.

“I believe we’ve gotten a little more comfortable positionally,” Weiss said. “The systems we play are a little bit different then what some guys have seen in the past. So there is a little bit of a learning curve getting the players to function properly within the system.”

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One thing Weiss said he wants to see is a consistent 60 minutes from his team. So far this year the team has shown spurts of good hockey. Against Montana Tech early in the season they saw their offense dominate shots on goal with defensive lapses. The last few weeks have shown consistency defensively from the Cougars, but offensive productivity has fallen.

“We’ve done different things well each game,” team captain Tanner Billingsley said. “We have to play a complete game to win.”

Weiss believes his team can be more aggressive on the offensive side of the ice against a Broncos team that is just as young as they are. One of the changes made to try and help the offense has come in the way of line changes. Mitch Facer, Ryan Hoeke and former defenseman Nick Bartholomew were placed on the same forward line. Facer believes the change will bring positive results.

“Me and Hoeke both grew up playing in New Jersey,” Facer said. “Wherever you are the style is going to be slightly different and you learn to play with those types of players. So I believe we are going to mesh really well. (Bartholomew) used to be a power house at forward and I believe he still has what it takes to put the puck in the net.”

Facer also said the atmosphere in Boise works to the advantage of BYU.

“We have some fans there, just as many as them,” Facer said. “I mean it’s a huge, huge stadium and there’s usually no one there.”

The three game series begins Thursday in Century Link Arena.

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