Hockey hits the mark

Weber State University’s forward Andrew Gorges shoots against Utah State University’s defense. Gorges has played in 35 games this season.

Weber State University’s hockey team beat Utah State University 2–1 on Feb. 17 at the Ice Sheet, finishing their senior night game with a game-winning goal from forward Cole VanOrman.

“We’ve had our ups and downs this year,” VanOrman said. “We’re definitely on a pretty good high right now.”

Celebrating senior night for their last home game of the season, the Wildcats opened the game with a ceremony for goalie Kyle Lane and forward Andrew Gorges.

“For me, it’s bittersweet,” Weber State head coach Yosh Ryujin said. “Those [two] have been staples for our program for six years and it’s sad to see them go, but at the same time, I’m happy because I’ve been able to watch these guys grow up in front of me and I know they’re going to both do some great things in life.”

With Lane protecting the Wildcats’ net and goalie Isaac Rice protecting Utah State’s, both teams were held scoreless during the first period.

“That goaltender hasn’t played a lot this year and give him credit. He played really well,” Ryujin said. “I don’t think early in the game we made it crazy enough for him in front of the net. We did make it more difficult for him and he was able to get some saves early and get some confidence and it grew throughout the game. We had a tough time finding the back of the net against him.”

Clustered around the net two minutes into the second period, forward Bryon Fobair scored off an assist from VanOrman during a power play. Despite having a 5–3 advantage at one point, the Aggies failed to respond during the second.

Still up 1–0 midway through the third period, it looked like the Wildcats would be skating away with a victory. However, Utah State started to play more aggressively, finding ways through Weber State’s defense.

With 8:22 left, Utah State forward Zach Pires scored off an assist from defensemen William Christensen. Despite multiple attempts from both teams to break the tie, the match went into overtime with a 1–1 score.

The game looked like it’d be heading to a penalty shoot-out until Fobair found VanOrman late in overtime. After multiple attempts to get the puck past Rice, VanOrman scored a goal.

“I was able to get my rebound behind the net and at that point, just on those scrams, the goalie was kind of all over the place,” VanOrman said. “I just wanted to get the puck in front of the net and I actually just put the puck through the crease. The goalie spun and he actually put it in the back of the net.”

The Wildcats pinned VanOrman to the glass after the goal, creating a dogpile during their celebration.

“We want to win in front of our fans and send me and Andy off with a good one,” Lane said. “The boys did a really good job. We grinded it out and the message was clear: Just like every other game, you’ve got to win.”

Unable to win back-to-back against the Aggies, Weber State lost 5–4 against Utah State the following day in Logan.

Finished with the regular season, the Wildcats will head to Massachusetts for the ACHA Division 2 Conference Regionals from Feb. 23-25.