Short-handed USU tops in-state foes
Published: Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, February 5, 2013 13:02
USU’s club hockey team faced off against two in-state rivals this weekend. The Aggies took on Weber State at home on Friday before travelling to Salt Lake City on Saturday to seek revenge against the Skatin’ Utes.
Utah State 2, University of Utah 1
After the first game against Utah, head coach Jon Eccles was disappointed with his team’s effort.
“Last night was a wake-up call for us,” Eccles said after the Aggies’ 6-2 home loss to the Utes on Nov. 2. “It was just like we came in here thinking, ‘Alright, we should be in first place, just give us the win.’”
USU had a different mindset heading into this game, careful not overlook the No. 7 ranked Utes in Salt Lake City.
“All year, it was a long wait to get them back and so we’ve had that revenge built up all year, waiting to take it out on them,” said forward Chris Videto.
The Aggies were still without leading scorer and captain Brian Gibbons, and coming into a rivalry game, the Aggies knew they needed to play well.
“We all knew we had to step up as a team and make sure we got them back,” Videto said. “We knew and they knew it was a fluke win last time.”
In a closely contested match, both teams were held scoreless until the third period.
Forward Matt Hamilton put the Aggies ahead 1-0 with the first goal of a back-and-forth game.
“Both goalies played really well,” Videto said. “Their goalie was standing on his head. I think we outshot them like 50-30 or something, but Bryce Scherschel played amazing and so did Utah’s goalie.”
The Utes tied it with about eight minutes left in the game but forward Stu Hepburn scored to put USU up for good and secure revenge.
The Aggies return to Logan on February 7 when they take on Colorado State at the George S. Eccles Ice Center in North Logan.
Utah State 6, Weber State 4
USU trailed for most of the game thanks to a slow opening period.
USU was without its captain Brian Gibbons, who was forced to sit out two games following a disqualification during the final game of the San Jose Showcase. This forced head coach Jon Eccles to switch some players around.
“Initially we thought the lines we had were going to work, but you could see that we were all over the place that first period,” Eccles said. “So we changed them up and had more consistency that second period.”
The Aggies were thoroughly outplayed during the first period, allowing a goal less than four minutes in and taking three of their four penalties on the night.
“They came out hard, we were a little bit flat,” said forward Matt Hamilton. “They’ve been playing well all second semester and we kind of didn’t expect it.”
Even though the Aggies appeared to play more consistently in the second period, they still found themselves trailing heading into the third period.
Just 54 seconds into the second period, Weber State extended their lead to 2-0. It would take nine more minutes for the Aggies to finally get one on the scoreboard.
Forward Stu Hepburn found the back of the net for USU and shifted the momentum in the Aggies’ favor.
“Well, I picked it up in the neutral zone and then I came down the wing with it,” Hepburn said. “I tried to drag my defense into the middle of the ice and I went back out and just put it on net.”
USU had been dominating stretches of play after allowing the second goal but still couldn’t beat Weber’s goalie until a Hepburn wrist shot found the back of the net.
“I think that we were just in a bit of a slump,” Hepburn said. “When you don’t score for a while, that net starts looking pretty small. To get one in there started to give us some momentum.”