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Wildcat hockey starts Nationals with a loss

Players scramble to gain control of the puck.

Weber State University’s men’s hockey team traveled to St. Louis, Missouri, to compete in the American Collegiate Hockey Association Division 2 Nationals tournament.

After finishing the regular season with a 22–12 overall record, the Wildcats finished second behind Montana State University in the Mountain West bracket. The ‘Cats had a positive goal differential this season with a total of 180 goals for and 106 goals against.

After such a successful season, Weber State’s head coach Yosh Ryujin and Montana State’s head coach Dave Weaver were co-winners in the west division Coach of the Year. Ryujin guided the Wildcats to a 22–12–2 season, securing second place in the Mountain West standings. With a history at Weber State University as both a player and now coach, Ryujin aims to claim the National Championship for Ogden.

Cory Mater and Cole VanOrman led the Wildcats this season in points with both securing a total of 48 and 43 points respectively. Mater this season had a total of 25 goals and 23 assists. VanOrman had a total of 21 goals and 22 assists.

After the departure of Kyle Lane, Owen Yancey was appointed as the starting goalie for the Wildcats this season. During the year, Yancey started in 18 games with a 10–7–1 record. Yancey has had a total of 556 saves with 58 goals getting past him. Trey Hirschfield came into the program as Yancey’s #2. Hirschfield started in 16 of the Wildcats games this season and has a 10–5–1 record with a total of 508 saves and had 37 goals scored against him.

The Wildcats finished the regular season with back-to-back wins against local rivals, Utah State. With a 3–2 win on Feb. 16 and an 8–2 win on Feb. 17. Weber State finished in second place in the Mountain West Conference Hockey League and were granted a guaranteed spot at Nationals this season.

The Wildcat’s first matchup in Nationals was against the University of Indiana on March 11, the Hoosiers finished their regular season with a 23–6–0 record. The University of Indiana defeated the Wildcats 4–2 in the tournament opener. The Wildcats two goals were both in the first period, the first was from Bryon Fobair and the second from VanOrman.

On March 12 the Wildcats will face off against Michigan State University at 1:15 p.m. Michigan State finished the regular season with an overall record of 25–1–1. The final guaranteed game for the Wildcats in Nationals will be against Northeastern University on Wednesday at 8:45 p.m.

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Collyn Cowles
Collyn Cowles, Sports editor

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