No. 7 BYU Hockey secures MWCHL championship for first time in program history

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Claire Gentry
The BYU hockey team celebrates a goal by Aleks Stroud in a game against UVU on Sept. 28 as packed stands cheer for the Cougars. (Claire Gentry)

The No. 7 BYU hockey team defeated Utah State 2-0 in Logan on Saturday, Feb. 9, capturing the Mountain West Collegiate Hockey League Championship (MWCHL) for the first time in the team’s history.

The MWCHL is comprised of eight teams: BYU, UVU, Utah State, Weber State, University of Providence, Grand Canyon, Montana State and Montana Tech.

The Cougars came out victorious in their last three games, defeating local rival UVU 6-3 Feb. 7 and Providence 5-2 the following day in preparation for the championship.

To add to a season of firsts for the accredited Cougar hockey program, the team also defeated Utah State Feb. 2 to win the Wasatch Cup for the first time.

The team record currently sits at 18-9-1 for the season.┬áSenior captain Ashton Shimbashi is leading the team in scoring with 47 points on 19 goals and 28 assists. Goaltender Jared Manzella has played in 23 of the Cougars’ 30 games, amassing a .904 save percentage.

The conference championship gives the Cougars an automatic bid to participate in the ACHA West Regional tournament Feb. 28 to March 2 in Tempe, Arizona, giving them the chance to vie for two of four spots in the national tournament.

The tournament will be held in Dallas on March 22-26. The top two teams in the region get an automatic bid to Nationals and the remaining top 10 teams will compete for the final two spots in their regional tournaments.

The Cougars will have their final home game at Peaks Ice Arena Friday, Feb. 15 at 7 p.m. It will also be the Cougars’ Congenital Heart Defect (CHD) awareness night. Each player will wear special jerseys with the names of children who currently suffer or have previously suffered from the CHD.

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