Wildcats win in dramatic finale

Joe Traub

On Senior Night at Weber State University, the Wildcats hockey team capped off their torrid season-ending run with a 5–4 victory over the Utah State University Aggies at the Ice Sheet.

The ‘Cats trailed 2–1 entering the final period, but a back-and-forth with twenty minutes left on the clock saw WSU take their second consecutive win over the Aggies after prevailing in Logan the night before.

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Joshua Kirk looking to make a pass to another teammate. (Marissa Wolford / The Signpost) Photo credit: Marissa Wolford

“It doesn’t get much better than this,” said forward Troy Quarnberg, one of seven WSU graduating seniors on the team. “You have to go out with a bang in the last game of your career. This is unreal.”

The victory gave WSU 10 wins in its last 13 tries dating back to Jan. 18. Head coach A.J. Kapinos said the surge was a matter of the team meshing together.

“We have a really good group of kids that are growing up right in front of our eyes,” Kapinos said. “They worked their tails off in the second half of the season. To win these two games in comeback fashion is a big deal.”

After a defensive battle in the first two periods, the Wildcats came out with a sense of urgency in the third. They tied the game at 2 with 16 minutes remaining on a goal from William Fobair.

The crowd and WSU bench did not have time to catch their collective breaths when defenseman Ken Gorges promptly found the back of the net to give the ‘Cats a 3–2 lead. Quarnberg then ended the flurry, as he scored with nine minutes left and WSU led 4–2.

“It was very loud tonight. You couldn’t hear half the time,” Quarnberg said. “It was a lot of fun. It gave me more energy to keep going.”

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Starting line up for WSU hockey against USU. (Marissa Wolford / The Signpost) Photo credit: Marissa Wolford

The Aggies did not go quietly, cutting the deficit to one and then tying the game with just over three minutes to play. A once raucous Weber State crowd was in disbelief.

However, the ‘Cats again had an immediate answer, as senior forward Kevin Meza scored with 2:38 left to make it 5-4 in favor of the hosts.

WSU’s defense held strong, foiling Aggie attempts in enemy territory. Utah State pulled its goalie with a minute remaining and was unable to get any quality looks as the Wildcats finished off a one-goal victory.

“Mentally, I think it’s a huge deal for us to be able to win a one-goal game against them,” Kapinos said. “Last year on our senior night, they (USU) beat us in overtime. We don’t forget those things.”

For Weber State senior and team captain Jon Cosman, the win marked a perfect footnote for his career.

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Joel Johnson looking to catch control of the puck. (Marissa Wolford / The Signpost) Photo credit: Marissa Wolford

“My first game I ever played here was a win over Utah State, so it’s nice to end the same way,” Cosman said. “It is something I will remember for the rest of my life.”

Senior forward Zan Hobbs, who scored Weber’s first goal of the night, said the victory was a meaningful end to the season.

“It’s bittersweet since it’s the last game of my career, but it is pretty sweet to end the way we did,” Hobbs said. “We had a great second half, and it was pretty awesome to beat these guys the last two games.”

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William Fobair looking for to pass the puck past USU player Conner Mckeachnie (22). (Marissa Wolford / The Signpost) Photo credit: Marissa Wolford

Quarnberg said his friendship with Hobbs came full circle on the final night of the season.

“I’ve known him since I was six years old,” Quarnberg said. “We’ve played hockey together for a long time. It was unreal to finish the season with him.”

With the victory, Weber State finished the 2018-19 season with a record of 17–19–2.