The BYU hockey team lost two physical games to the University of Utah over the weekend .
Friday in Salt Lake City, the Utes shutout the Cougars 7–0. The Cougars played hard and stayed in the game as long as they could.
“We were down a few until the last three minutes and we fell apart,” junior forward Bendan Hubbard said. “They capitalized on a couple mistakes we made. Other than that the score didn’t really reflect the game at all, because it was a solid game.”
Saturday proved to be a similar game with plenty of physical play. The game saw 22 penalties called, 16 of which were called against the Cougars. Fans were not happy with several calls and hits by the Utes and voiced their opinion throughout the game. The Utes took advantage of their power play opportunities on the way to a 6–2 win. However, the Cougars never let the Utes get to comfortable on the ice. Freshman Wyatt Frost was key in this role during his last game before his mission to Sao Paulo, Brazil.
“We were just pushing each other and trying to make momentum with hits and good plays,” Frost said. “We knew if we started hitting (the Utes) they wouldn’t be able to take it. So if we got in their heads, we’d be able to pop a couple goals in.”
Despite an injury, Hubbard kept up with the physical play.
“I didn’t play my best game (Friday),” Hubbard said. “So I was a little upset, and that fueled me to play that much better today and make sure I was physical.”
Defender and captain Tanner Billingsley is known for his hits, but Saturday he was able to show off some of his offensive skills as well. One play, Billingsley weaved between defenders to get to the front of the net and snap a shot into the side netting.
“It was the highlight of my season,” Billingsley said. “Everyone was complementing me on my hits and I was like, ‘what about my goal?'”
Freshman forward Ryan Hoeke also scored on an perfectly aimed shot between defenders and past the goalie. BYU Coach Jeremy Weiss was pleased by these plays, along with the physical play of the team until the end.
“We’ve had a thing where our scores don’t always necessarily indicate the caliber of play,” Weiss said. “I was happy with our team’s play, especially in the second and third periods where we started hitting a lot more.”
The Cougars have improved defensively this year and the offense isn’t far behind. Chris Tuttle, Matt McClure and Dalton Spice will join the team next semester as an added boost to the teams depth. Weiss hopes these three, along with a few other possibilities, will help the team get some wins and momentum in the near future. The first opportunity will come January 12 against Utah State in the Peaks Ice Arena.