Hockey battles, ties Utah State

USU (Linlee Jones)
(Source: Linlee Jones)
Weber State University hockey players Jeremiah Holmes and Tyler Arnold defend the net in a game against Utah State University. The Wildcats and the Aggies tied 3-3 Saturday.

The Weber State University hockey team made the trip up to Logan to face Utah State University on Saturday afternoon. For the second-straight game between the teams, overtime was needed. The game ended in a 3-3 tie after double overtime, bringing the Wildcat conference record to 2-0-2 and their overall record to 3-6-2.

The teams had a shootout after the game ended, but under league rules, it did not count toward standings. The Aggies won the shootout, scoring two goals to the Wildcats’ one.

“It was an up-and-down game,” said WSU head coach Joe Pfleegor. “It was just a great hockey game. It went into overtime. Nobody scored, and in Division II there are no shootouts. After the overtime, it’s tied. After the game, me and the coach for USU, Jon Eccles, we got together and we did a shootout for the fans.”

Both teams had chances in the early going of the game, but neither could gain an advantage over the other. Each team’s goalie made spectacular saves on many shots in the game.

The Aggies got on the board first with two minutes left in the first period. USU freshman Chris Videto found the net off of an assist from freshman Derrek Shoup. The goal put the Aggies on top 1-0.

The first half of the second period went a lot like the majority of the first period. The Aggies and Wildcats traded opportunities and saves to keep the score the same.

The Wildcats found a golden opportunity in the latter parts of the second period. The Aggies were penalized for roughing, giving the Wildcats a power play. It took merely seconds on the power play for the Wildcats to capitalize, as junior Anthony Modrick sneaked behind the undermanned defense and received the pass from freshman Jake Webber, tying the score at 1-1.

The Wildcats scored just minutes later as Webber received a pass off a faceoff win by freshman Tyler Arnold. Webber found the back of the net, shooting from 20 feet out. That brought the score to 2-1 in favor of WSU, which is where the second period ended.

“Today we battled the whole game,” said WSU sophomore Dax Hobbs. “Utah State is one of those teams where, if you let up for one shift, they score. We had the lead, but we let down for a couple shifts, and they were able to tie it up. But overall, I thought we dominated them.”

The lead didn’t last long. Just 38 seconds into the third period, the Aggies tied the game up on a goal from freshman Josef Chase, with the assist from sophomore Cooper Limb.

The game got more heated as the third period wore on. The Wildcats added drama to the game by taking the lead with 14 minutes to go in the period. Freshman Jeremiah Holmes found the net off of a deflection off the Aggie goalie. The Wildcats regained the lead 3-2.

Tempers flared after the Aggies tied up the game with five minutes left in the game. Limb found the back of the net off a deflection from WSU goalie Ian Frank. The third period ended in a 3-3 tie.

“Utah State had beaten Weber for the last five years,” Pfleegor said. “When you go to play in their rink, it’s a mental disadvantage, because their fans are really into it. For us to come out even with a tie, that’s good for us. We beat them a month ago at our home rink; we tied them here. For the last five years, we’ve been beaten there.”

Both teams had chances to win the game in the overtime period, but neither was able to put the puck past the goalie.

“For us to come out with even a tie, it’s a step in the right direction, even though it’s not a win,” Pfleegor said. “It’s not a loss, it’s a step in the right direction, and we are going to build on that. For a 3-3 game, I think it was a moral victory. As coaches, we don’t like moral victories. We want a victory. But for being on the road for the last 10 games, I think the boys did good.”

The Wildcats will return home for their first home game in more than a month this Friday, after a showdown against Brigham Young University on Thursday. On Friday, WSU will face Denver University at the Weber County Ice Sheet at 7:30 p.m. The Wildcats will also have a game Sunday at 10:30 a.m. versus Montana State University.

“This next weekend, these are all conference games,” Pfleegor said. “These are big games in our conference, and the boys will be ready for it.”