Referees had to break up multiple fights at the Ice Sheet as Weber State University’s club hockey team faced off against the University of Colorado and Colorado State University over the weekend.
“We stayed together as a team over the three games,” said Braxton Green, team captain. “We had some penalties, but a lot of them were sticking up for our teammates. As a team, we are getting closer and closer, and it’s good for us going into regionals.”
On Thursday night, WSU played UC and won 7-5. But the momentum didn’t carry over into Friday night as the Wildcats took on CSU. The first period started off with an early goal from Chris Roberts. That goal was reciprocated by a CSU goal. The second period ended with CSU in the lead 2-1. Tensions were high in the third period when two athletes from WSU got ejected for fighting. CSU also went on a six-point run, leaving WSU behind. WSU lost against CSU 8-1.
“The last nine minutes of the game were spent in the penalty box,” Green said. “You can’t win like that.”
On Saturday night, WSU played UC again and was again victorious. The game started off with a goal from WSU’s Roberts. UC’s Zach Lass followed that with a goal, ending the first period tied 1-1. Jeremiah Holmes scored for the Wildcats in the second period in response to Lass’ second goal. UC’s Jordan Lockner scored with three minutes left to go in the game, taking the lead, but Roberts found the net at just the right moment to lead the team into overtime.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game today,” Green said. “We came out a little slow, but Craig’s big saves and Chris’ goals really picked us up.”
Overtime went scoreless, taking the team into a shootout. The first and second shooters from both teams missed their shots. WSU’s Phillip Jennrich and UC’s David Komatz made their shots, tying it up. WSU’s goalie, Craig Peterson, made a clutch save, blocking the Buffalos’ third shot. Green took the fourth shot for the Wildcats. He shot the puck between his legs; it hit the underside of the crossbar and went in for the WSU victory.
“I try and stay as calm as possible in those situations,” Peterson said. “It’s when you think about it that you will mess up. I just let them make the first move, follow them and let them make the mistakes.”
Peterson also said he couldn’t have had the game he did without his teammates in front of him.
“I came out big tonight because I had a team in front of me,” Peterson said. “They were blocking shots, laying out, and I have to come up big for them.”
After the loss against CSU, head coach Joe Pfleegor said he was looking to see how the team would respond to that. He said the team responded well and played some good hockey.
“We worked hard on both ends of the ice,” Pfleegor said. “This game meant something because, if we would have lost tonight, we would have dropped in rankings. By winning, we stay at No. 4 in the rankings.”
Although the team had more wins than losses, it struggled with executing its power plays. A power play is when one team is down a player due to penalties and the other team has the advantage.
“Power plays really struggled this weekend,” Pfleegor said. “We will work on that the next couple of weeks before regionals start and see if we can improve. You have to have the power play working if you’re going to go to nationals.”
WSU will take on in-state rival Utah State University on Thursday for its final home game of the season. The team is looking forward to the rivalry.
“We are just going to go out and play hard,” Pfleegor said. “Whenever you play Utah State, it’s going to be a battle. We have to play a little more physical against Utah State because that’s their game.”