BYU hockey headed in the right direction

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The BYU hockey team looks to continue to build on their recent improvements while on the road against Utah State.

The last time the clubs met, the Aggies came away with an 8-0 win, but the Cougars found themselves with an impressive defensive effort, but lacking any offensive identity. Since that time the Cougars have continued to improve with each passing week with the goals beginning to come against the Utes last week. Coach Jeremy Weiss took heart with what he saw against the Utes.

“We’re looking to maintain the same level of commitment to the systems that we displayed in the U of U game,” Weiss said. “Solid defense and quick transitions to offense allowed us to stay competitive for most of the game.”

Not everything from that game was positive, and Weiss would like to see improvement from his special teams.

“We’re healthier this week, and we were able to put a lot more work into our power play and penalty kill,” Weiss said. “I’m hoping it pays off. Our penalty kill was our downfall last week, with 7 of 8 goals against coming on our PK and on the one penalty shot. We also need to be better about staying out of the penalty box in the first place.”

Utah State is one of the best teams in the state and their only loss this year came last week when they played the University of Utah. Captain Mitch Facer said this encourages the team because they competed well against the Utes and feel they can do so against the Aggies. He’s ready for a tough game in Logan, but would like to see the team take advantage of the environment.

“They’re a solid team, they always have been,” Facer said. “We’re playing in their barn, so it’ll be a loud crowd. We gotta use that to our advantage and really buckle down and remember what our game is and play it well.”

Facer said that this mental game is what he believes could turn the game in their favor. Weiss expounded what he believes this mental edge is and how it can change the game.

“Our goal is to keep it competitive for as long as possible,” Weiss said. “The longer we can keep it close, the more frustrated USU will become. We saw this happen last week against U of U. Without that bad string of penalties late in the second period, I’m confident we could have kept it very competitive late into the game. Keep it close long enough, and anything can happen!”

The puck drops at 8:00 p.m. Friday in the George S. Eccles Ice Center.

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