Fourth time’s a charm?

By By Natalie Dicou

By Natalie Dicou

The U hockey team hopes to end its trend of digging itself into an early hole in its rematch against UVSC Friday night.

In their first three games, the Utes have plummeted to insurmountable deficits during the first period.

In its season opener at Utah State, Utah gave up 10 first period goals, and in the team’s most recent defeat-a home game against Weber State-the Utes found themselves down 6-0 before the first period was in the books.

In Utah’s only other game of the year against UVSC, the Wolverines jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the first period, but the Utes managed to play UVSC throughout the rest of the game, eventually losing 8-5.

“One of our major flaws is that we start out slow,” goalkeeper Jason Petho said. “We don’t play until the second period.”

Despite the fact that the Utes have yet to come out victorious, head coach Bob Wilkinson remains optimistic.

“We’re getting better and better every week,” Wilkinson said. “It’ll be fun to see what happens Friday.”

In preparation for the UVSC game, the Utes have been working on their agility.

“We’ve gotta get their feet moving, and we worked on that (in practice),” said Wilkinson, who is also concerned with the team’s overall fitness.

“We haven’t been really pushing the guys that hard. The history of hockey is the last 10 minutes, you skate them ’til they drop,” he said. “What’s neat is the guys are doing dry-land (off-ice conditioning), and they’re getting into the weight room.”

In addition to improving agility and fitness, the Utes will begin meeting Saturdays “to go over the previous night’s video” and “have some bonding time.”

Wilkinson made CDs of the Weber State game for all 20 of his players so each could individually analyze the loss, but he would prefer to watch games as a group.

“Everyone has their own ideas on what we can do better,” Petho said, “If we address them as a team, we will be able to realize them and hopefully do better when we know what our issues are.”

The Utes “invited a lot of the administration to (the UVSC) game to see that (they) want to remain on campus as an organization and as a sport,” Petho said.

Petho said he hopes the Steiner Ice Rink will be filled will Ute fans Friday.

“We got fliers and banners and schedules all over campus,” he said. “I’ve flooded rooms with fliers and schedule cards.”

The game begins at 8:45 p.m., but the U hockey club has offered an incentive for fans that show up early.

“The first 150 people get a free T-shirt,” Petho said.