USU hockey team wins its first match of showcase
Utah State's club hockey team beat the Utah Regulators U-18 team 3-0 Thursday night in the Aggies' first game of the Beehive Grill Showcase. The Regulators, an under-18 team from Salt Lake City, joined the game series after Boise State University canceled its trip to North Logan.
Utah State Coach John Eccles said the younger team’s speed and skill took some of his players by surprise at the beginning of the game.
“A lot of them would come back to the bench and say, 'Hey, you're in – we've got a hockey game here,'” Eccles said.
Eccles said Thursday’s game will prepare the team for its remaining two games this weekend.
“They know that they didn't play their best hockey,” Eccles said. “ It was a good game for us, because it makes us work on the things that we practiced on.”
Freshman goalie Jordan Nighttraveler stopped 26 shots on goal to earn the shutout. Nighttraveler anchored the Aggies through six penalty kills.
“I knew that they were going to come out hard and want to beat us,” Nighttraveler said. “We're a hard-working team, so are they.”
Forward Cooper Limb scored Utah State's first goal, 18 seconds after Regulators player Gavin Mindt drew a penalty for hooking. Ian Beckstrom buried a loose puck with 1:20 left in the first period, giving the Aggies a 2-0 lead. Junior forward Joel Basson sunk one more for the Aggies with 9:34 left in the third period.
Limb said the Regulators are better than most teams Utah State plays against, and the Aggies didn’t play to their potential at the beginning of the game.
“They're a lot more skilled, and they're faster than most teams we play, so it was a little alarming at first,” Limb said.
Neither team scored in the second period, but tensions heightened between players. After the buzzer at the end of the second period, officials had to pull a couple of players apart after they started shoving each other. Over the course of the game, Utah State drew 10 penalties and the Regulators drew 5. Utah State forward Matt Hamilton was removed from the game after a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct with 8:42 left in the third period.12
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