The BYU hockey team suffered another heartbreaking loss 4-3 against Boise State on Nov. 2 after being unable to take advantage of power plays and incurring penalties late in the game.
Both teams played competitively throughout the game, with lots of back-and-forth playing. BYU led 3-2 for most of the third period until two BYU players were called for somewhat controversial penalties in the last minute of the game. With a 5-on-3 matchup, Boise took advantage of the power play and scored two goals in the last 60 seconds to win the game.
Coach Josh Burkart said the calls at the end are what cost the Cougars the game.
“I’m proud of our guys,” Burkart said. “They played well enough to win tonight and should’ve won tonight. Bad calls cost them at the end.”
Ashton Ripley, who tied the game 2-2 in the second period, commented on BYU’s feelings after the tough loss.
“We had a sense that we didn’t deserve it,” Ripley said. “Sometimes there are things that you can’t control and you just have to dig down deep and push ahead. We felt like we played well together.”
BYU played well throughout the game both on defense and offense. The first period ended with a tie, as did the second period. Both teams were playing aggressively and creating many scoring opportunities. A goal from Cam Hymas in third period put the Cougars up by one, and with the clock winding down it seemed like a BYU win. Unfortunately it’s never over till it’s over.
The Cougars had several power play situations that they were unable to capitalize on during the game. BYU’s assistant captain Chris Tuttle said this also cost BYU the win.
“You can never fully blame the referees,” Tuttle said. “We had a 5-on-3 power play before that we didn’t capitalize on. In the last two minutes everyone was out there hustling, but the odds were against us and they put it away. It was heartbreaking for all of us. “
Tuttle said the Cougars are going to be focusing on taking advantage of power plays during practice week as well as defending against power plays. Six of the seven goals Boise State had against BYU this weekend resulted in power plays. The Cougars will need to improve in these aspects in preparation for the next few weeks of road games.
The Cougars have come close to winning several games throughout the season but have struggled to finish games. The absence of BYU’s leading scorers still out on injury has left the rest of the team feeling disheartened going into games, but they remain resilient and look forward to the rest of the season.
“You’ll get bad calls no matter where you are playing,” Tuttle said. “You just have to play with the cards you’re dealt. You just have to keep pushing and not let it get to you and just do your best.”