Coming off of two wins Thursday and Friday, the Weber State University hockey team finished off its four-game weekend at a perfect 4-0 with wins over Brigham Young University and San Jose State University on Saturday.
“We really played well this weekend,” said WSU assistant coach Yosh Ryujin. “Our goal coming into this weekend was to go undefeated. The guys worked hard and they came in with the right mindset.”
For the first 10 minutes of the game against BYU, the Wildcats were playing a little sloppily, turning the puck over multiple times in their own zone. BYU had several shots kicked aside by goalie Colby Atkinson.
The Wildcats cleaned up their play from there and started clicking. Off of a faceoff, WSU sophomore Dax Hobbs hit the puck behind him to senior Braxton Green, who rifled the puck into the net. That gave the Wildcats a 1-0 lead.
The goal was the first of three for Green, giving him a hat trick. Green scored seven goals over the four-day weekend.
“I was just lacking confidence for a while,” said Green after the game about his recent streak. “But these last five games or so, I’ve started relaxing before the game and have been trying to keep it simple — don’t overthink, just shoot the puck. It’s been working out for me. I’m just trying to stay positive.”
The game was all Wildcats as they scored four goals in the second period and three more in the third. Freshman Kody Rodriguez had two goals, while junior Phill Jennrich, Hobbs and sophomore Jacob Holmes each had one goal. The Wildcats won by the score of 8-0.
The Wildcats went right back to work Sunday afternoon, facing SJSU. Both teams were playing their fourth game of the week.
“It sucks,” said Jennrich about playing four straight games. “I’m tired after one game. Add three more and it sucks. But it’s fun.”
The Wildcats came out sluggish, giving up three goals in the first 21 minutes. The first two goals came off of power plays, including a shot from a Spartan behind the goal line that ricocheted off of a Wildcat defender’s skate and into the goal.
“After they scored that third goal, it was almost as if you could read the boys on the bench, you could read their minds,” said WSU head coach Joe Pfleegor. “It was almost as if they said, ‘Hey, enough is enough; we are done. We are going to start playing.’ From that point, they took control of that game and just steamrolled them.”
The Wildcats changed gears in the second period, running off four goals, including two in the final seconds of the period. Hobbs got his third goal of the game in the third period, and the Wildcats finished the game with the score at 6-3.
After finishing 4-0 over the weekend, WSU now has a record of 14-9-3. Three of the wins over the weekend were to ranked teams in the American Collegiate Hockey Association’s Division II West Region. With the new rankings that came out Sunday, WSU is now ranked No. 3 in the West Region behind Utah State University and Arizona State University.
“Whenever you play four games in a row, four games in four days, to win all four is a challenge in itself,” Pfleegor said. “But to beat three of those four teams that are ranked, that just makes it more exciting. We beat the No. 2 team, the No. 7 team and the No. 15 team.”
The Wildcats will have a week off before finishing the calendar year with three road games in Arizona, Dec. 5-7. They will play two teams they beat over the weekend, Northern Arizona University and SJSU, and finish the weekend battling ASU. The Wildcats will then break until Jan. 10, when they will play a doubleheader against conference rival USU.