BYU hockey opened their season with matchups against Utah on Friday, Sept. 20, and Weber State on Saturday, Sept. 21. The Cougars fell to the Utes and Wildcats, but they are taking the positives aspects of those games to carry them forward into the rest of the season.
Team captain Jacob Eisenstat said there were a number of things they learned about their team through their opening games, but one stuck out to him the most.
“Regardless of the short numbers we have, we are resilient,” Eisenstat said.
The Cougars are coming off of a great 2018-19 season in which they won two championships — the Wasatch Cup and the Mountain West Collegiate Hockey League. Head coach Dave Pitcher said that last year they kept working and they were able to find the magic.
“We’re the defending champions, and we have to act like it. Hopefully, that mentality will translate onto the ice,” team captain Aleks Stroud said.
After the two losses, Pitcher told players they need to have the right attitude. He explained that it’s really easy to get discouraged after a couple of losses, but if they maintain their attitude and work hard in practice, then he is optimistic about the rest of their season.
Pitcher also told the team it’s a long season, and they have a lot to build on. Hope is not lost after one weekend of hockey and they are only going to get better, he said.
“We have to have the mentality that we had last year — the mentality that we can win,” Stroud explained.
Towards the end of last season, Pitcher was at stake conference and the stake president was speaking about having a soft heart; specifically about dealing with hard things in your life with a soft heart. So he said he thought it would be a good motto for the team this season to “do hard things with a soft heart.”
The team has the quote written on their board in the locker room to help them remember this principle.
The team also has another motto which is “brothers.” They use this to create a special brotherhood in the locker room and on the ice.
The Cougars are looking to bounce back this weekend with two home games at Peaks Ice Arena on Friday, Sept. 27, against Utah Valley and Saturday, Sept. 28, against Utah State.