Wildcat hockey falls to Denver

Jaden Hewes and Hunter Tautfest racing for the puck at the hockey game against Denver.

After a heated game, Weber State University’s hockey team fell 4–1 to the University of Denver on Jan. 28 at the Ice Sheet.

After beating Colorado State University 6–3 on Jan. 26 and the University of Colorado 5–2 on Jan. 27, the Wildcats’ loss to the Pioneers was their only one of the weekend.

Denver dominated early with defensemen John Reller, JP Thul and Gage Dwan all scoring to give the Pioneers a 3–0 lead.

“I feel like this weekend, even though we went 2–1, we kind of came out a little slow on all three games,” Weber State’s head coach Yosh Ryujin said. “Fortunately for the first two games, we were able to recover but today they came out, they were a desperate team today, and they showed it in the first period.”

The second period didn’t see any goals scored and instead saw two penalties for Weber State and five for Denver.

In the final period of the game, Pioneer forward Junyan Mak scored Denver’s last goal of the night. Weber State forward Andrew Demorat scored the Wildcats’ only goal of the match halfway through the period.

“We had a lot of opportunities there in the third period that we could have really closed the gap and didn’t take advantage of those,” Ryujin said. “[The goalie] saw a lot of the shots tonight and when you’ve got a good goalie that’s hot like that, if he can see the puck, he’s going to stop it.”

The team is preparing to take on Utah Valley University at the Wasatch Cup on Feb. 3 and has a full week of preparation ahead. The team, who won the cup last year, is hoping to continue that legacy.

“The problem right now is we have spurts where we’re just really, really good, and we have spurts where we’re just not engaged in the game, and I feel like if we can put together a full 60 minutes, we’re going to have a lot of success,” Ryujin said. “We’re not ranked where we are by mistake … but at the same time, the reason we’re not higher is because we’re having missteps throughout the season against teams and having periods like we did in the first, where you can’t afford to do that against good hockey teams.”

After the team competes at the Wasatch Cup at Utah State University, the team will play in the Mountain West Cup at Montana State University Feb. 9-11. The team hopes to make the American Collegiate Hockey Association national tournament in Massachusetts on March 16-21.