Cougar hockey loses to powerhouse Utah State

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The BYU Hockey team lost 8-2 to No. 1 Utah State Oct. 26 at Peaks Ice Arena because of its inability to create offensive plays and to the extended absence of injured players.

BYU and Utah State fight for possession of the puck (photo courtesy of Carol Naumu)
BYU and Utah State fight for possession of the puck. (Photo courtesy Carol Naumu)

The Cougars fought valiantly but to no avail as Utah State shot 69 times during the game and controlled the puck offensively for much of the game. The Cougars played fairly well defensively, but they were unable to create offensive plays. As soon as the Cougars would get the puck away from Utah State, they would then be unable to complete passes and create scoring opportunities.

“Mental mistakes, making stupid mistakes, getting tired,” said Cam Hymas, who was the first to score for the Cougars. “We had two three-game weekends in a row, and we’ve started getting some injuries and a shorter bench, but we just have to push through it.”

Two of those injured players are BYU’s leading scorers Nick Bartholomew and Ryan Hoeke. Both are out because of concussions and do not have a definite time as to when they will return.  BYU head coach Josh Burkart commented on what this means for the Cougars.

“Scoring, offense, our power play,” Burkart said. “Both of those guys scored the majority of our goals the first part of the season, and they’re both anchors on the power play. Now other guys need to step up and fill those roles, and we are just waiting for those guys to step up.”

Other players stepping up for BYU was evidently lacking against Utah State.

The Cougars were able to keep the Aggies from scoring until the last two minutes of the first period, when Utah State was able to make two goals in quick succession. BYU ended the period looking discouraged and with its fans silent.

The second period started even worse for BYU, as Utah State was able to score in the first 26 seconds of play. BYU gained some momentum, as Hymas put a point on the board, but it was quickly crushed as Utah State put in three more goals. BYU had a lot of chances to transition to some offensive play, but the team was frequently unable to capitalize on transition and mishandled the puck often.

“With the short bench everyone is getting playing time,” Burkart said. “We just need certain guys to step up, to fill the void and make big plays.”

Tanner Billingsley put in one more goal for the Cougars in the third period. BYU finally started to show more energy, but it was too little to late.  The game ended 8-2 Aggies.

Yet despite these setbacks, the Cougars remain determined to continue to compete their best every game. They’ll need that positive attitude as they take on Boise State Nov. 1.

“We just have to dig deep and not worry about things that you can’t control,” Hymas said. “Control what you can control each and every shift. As long as you dig down deep and do your best that’s all you can hope for.”

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