The Weber State University hockey team took the ice for the first time this season in a loss to their in-state rival, the Utah State University Aggies.
With a new and heavily student fanbase in attendance for the season opener, the Ice Sheet was packed with fans supporting both the Wildcats and the Aggies. With the new season came new rules, as admission to the WSU hockey games is now free for students with their Wildcards.
The Wildcats got off to a quick start when junior forward Zane Hobbs scored his first goal of the season, just 45 seconds into the opening period on a breakaway. Weber State quickly saw their one-goal lead disappear after the Aggies scored two quick power play goals and took the lead into the first intermission.
In a penalty-filled second period, Weber State saw its deficit increase as the Aggies added three more power play goals early on, brining the score to 5–1.
“We have to stay out of the penalty box,” coach Clay Hobbs said. “We were down a man constantly and couldn’t kill off the penalty without giving up a goal.”
Penalties were a continuous issue for the ’Cats. Weber was down a man nine times while the Aggies took full advantage of their opportunities, scoring all seven of their goals during the power plays.
Weber State only converted once on their power play opportunities and failed on their other five chances throughout the game.
Midway through the second frame, forward Larry Bauman sniped a top shelf wrist shot, beating the Aggies goalie and bringing the deficit to within two. Weber State quickly added another goal when forward Brian Martinez scored off a rebound from defenseman Jake Webber.
The two goals in quick succession also riled up the Weber State fans in attendance, as the home team support had dwindled as the Aggies scored goal after goal.
“We played well five-on-five,” junior forward Zane Hobbs said. “Our special teams play wasn’t acceptable. We gave up too many goals on the penalty kill and didn’t score enough goals on the power play.”
The final frame didn’t get much better for the ’Cats, giving up two more power play goals to the Aggies and losing hope at any chance of a comeback.
“It’s the first game of the season,” coach Hobbs said. “There are always going to be penalties, and when you play such a high emotional game versus a rival like Utah State there are going to be plenty of penalties; we just have to make sure we capitalize on chances.”
Hobbs believes his team will bounce back and that one game is not a sign for the rest of the season to come.
“It’s a long season, Hobbs said. “We have a great team this year. We just have some more work to do.”
Weber State defensemen Ken Gorges, Jake Webber and Kyle Waronker all had assists in the three Wildcats’ goals.
The day after the 7–4 loss to Utah State, the Wildcats hosted another in-state rival, the University of Utah Utes. In a more defensive focused match, the Wildcats ultimately fell, by a score of 1–0.
The next home game for the Wildcats will be on Sept. 23 against Utah Valley University. After that, they will embark on their first road trip of the season and will not play again in Ogden until October.