The Weber State University hockey team finished off its three-game trip to the Sunshine State as it played two games against the Arizona State University Division II hockey team. The Wildcats fell behind quickly in both games and dropped them both, 5-1 and 6-2.
“ASU has always had a good program,” said team captain Braxton Green. “We knew that going down there, it was going to be a tough weekend. The score didn’t really represent how we played. Our power play was terrible. It lost us the game on Saturday; we couldn’t score.”
The Sun Devils got on the board early and often. In the first minute of the first period, ASU senior Justin Havriliak broke away and put the puck past WSU goalie Ian Frank. The assist went to freshman Jamie Cotnoir.
The Wildcats had more success against the Sun Devils in attacking the net, yet in the early going, they were not able to slip the puck past the goalie.
The Sun Devils scored again with just less than eight minutes to go in the first period, this time on a short-handed goal. Sophomore Coda Engbar found the net off of an assist from James Iwaszkiw.
“I think our biggest weakness this weekend, our biggest concern, was our power play,” said WSU head coach Joe Pfleegor. “We just got to find a system that we are going to be successful with. And that is going to be our focus in practice this week.”
After another goal from ASU, this one from Havriliak to Cotnoir, the Wildcats finally got on the board. Zach Endicott scored off of an assist from Dax Hobbs with just less than 13 minutes left in the second period.
That was all she wrote for the Wildcats, as ASU added two more goals, one in the closing minutes of the second period and one in the third period. The final score was 5-1.
The second game was much like the first, as WSU had to play from behind from the start. The Sun Devils scored with five minutes left in the first period on a power play. ASU junior Justin Butler found the net off of the assist from junior Brady Morgan.
ASU again scored as Butler found sophomore Jason Kuta with a wide-open net with two minutes left in the first period. The first period ended with the score at 2-0.
The Wildcats gave up three more goals in the second period, and the score after was 5-0.
Pfleegor said that when a team gets down by four or five scores, its game plan needs to change.
“You want to be a little bit more aggressive,” he said. “The game changes; that’s what is great about hockey. You have to be able to make changes like that during the game, not just at halftime. It’s tough when you dig yourself into a hole and you’re down by three or four goals.”
After giving up another goal in the third, WSU finally got on the board with 14 minutes remaining as Green broke away from the defense and received a good pass from freshman Jake Webber.
Endicott made a goal in the final seconds, ending the game at 6-2.
“It’s early in the season; we have a lot of hockey left,” Green said. “It’s good to have these games early in the season so we can learn from them.”
The Wildcats will return to action with three back-to-back games in Colorado as they take on Denver University, Colorado State University and the University of Colorado over the weekend. Like ASU, DU is a Division I team.