The BYU hockey team will take on Utah State Nov. 15 in hopes that its third matchup will end in a victory, despite having fewer players this time around.
Five of the 19 BYU players are still out of action this week because of injuries, so BYU’s coach Josh Burkart is preparing his team to outperform the Aggies on both ends of the ice despite their small numbers.
“In offensive zone it’s always getting quality shots and crashing the net,” Burkart said. “Defensively we want our guys to compete every shift and be disciplined to the system.”
The Cougars also plan to mainly focus on eliminating inside shots from the Aggies and leaving the hard outside shots for BYU’s goalies to take care of. BYU’s Scott Mehr and Jared Bussel are roughly even in their efforts to seize the starting goalie position, each with over 100 saves and about 90% save percentage on the season so far.
With such excellent performance from their goalies, the Cougars’ confidence going against Utah State is further increased in knowing that 4 of USU’s starting players are sitting out for disqualifications.
“They have 4 players sitting out for getting into fights,” Burkart said. “That being said, they have a deep team, so it will be a good measuring stick to show how much we’ve improved over the season.”
The Cougars are now just over halfway through their 35-game season. Although the Cougars have only won two games so far this season, they have been much more competitive against opponents they lost badly to last year, including Utah State.