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Wildcats celebrate a win against Colorado on Friday night. (Ariana Berkemeier / The Signpost)

On the evening of Feb. 22, Weber State Wildcat hockey fans packed into the Ice Sheet to watch their team attempt to knock off the Boise State Broncos in the first round of the ACHA playoffs. The Broncos were able to edge out the Wildcats 5–2, ending the WSU hockey season.

The Wildcats opened up the game aggressive on offense, striving to pick up a quick score and get momentum on their side. The first few minutes saw several chances to score a goal, and about five minutes into the quarter, the Wildcats capitalized and found the back of the net to pick up a 1–0 lead.

This quick score energized the Wildcat faithful while putting the pressure squarely on the Broncos to avoid giving up more goals and digging themselves into a hole.

As the first period carried on, both teams were playing patient but working toward clean scoring opportunities. Although Boise State was trailing, they were playing with poise and confidence that the scoreboard would swing back into their favor.

Boise’s State patient offensive attack paid off with 11:55 left in the first period when it was their turn to find the back of the net and knot the score at 1–1.

With both teams scoring early goals, the fans were aware that both teams are capable of scoring and need to step it up on the defensive end.

Two minutes had passed since the Broncos last goal, and they were hungry for another one. With 9:25 left in the first period, they netted their second score of the night and took a 2–1 advantage on the scoreboard.

As both teams combined for three goals in the first 11 minutes, it was evident that there would be lots of scoring in this game. The first period came to an end with Boise State winning 2–1.

When the first intermission arrived, it was clear that the Wildcats had to fight to reclaim their lead. Fans went into concessions and bought snacks; elders got up to stretch, and the ice was polished in preparation for the upcoming second period.

The second period opened with improved defense by both teams. Throughout the first 10 minutes, the tougher defense made it difficult to shoot goals.

With 9:49 left in the second, the arena exploded with cheers as the Wildcats scored another goal and retied the game at 2–2. This was the only goal of the period for both teams, carrying a tie into the final period of the game.

For the Wildcats, the first period saw a lack of defense. The second period was their fight for a win, but the third period was one to forget. The Broncos came out of the break hot, as they scored 29 seconds into the final period to take a 3–2 lead.

BSU would then score with 8:42 left to build a two-score, 4–2 lead. Then the Broncos sealed the Wildcats’ fate as they scored with 5:17 left to give them an ultimately insurmountable 5–2 lead.

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Forward Troy Quarnberg hugs his teammates after scoring a goal against BYU in the first period to gain an early lead from the Cougars. (Ariana Berkemeier / The Signpost)

Despite the loss, Wildcat fans gave their team a standing ovation before heading for the exit for the last time this season.

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