Skatin? Utes split Colorado series

By By Jake Bullinger

By Jake Bullinger

In its opening weekend of play, the men’s ice hockey team faced off against the Mesa State Mavericks in Grand Junction, Colo.

Although the Utes dropped a tough game on Saturday, they were able to return to Salt Lake City with a win under their belt.

After a third-period goal from defenseman Charles German in the first game Saturday night, Utah led 5-4 with 10:43 remaining in the period. A Mesa State substitution replacing starting goalie Kyle Roffe with Casey Pinter was a change that kept the Utes from scoring another goal. The Mavericks scored the next four goals, winning the game 8-5.

“We ran into a hot goaltender,” said head coach Jon Bertagnolli. Although the Skatin’ Utes outshot the Mavericks 28-9 in the final period, they could not penetrate Pinter’s goaltending. Coupled with their inability to score in the third period, the Ute defense allowed three separate Mavericks to tally two goals each in the game.

Despite the nature of the loss, Bertagnolli was not overly concerned.

“You’re going to lose two or three games you should have won,” he said.

The Utes found redemption in the second game of the series, defeating Mesa State by a score of 7-5. Utah scored the first four goals, all coming in the first period, before the Mavericks eventually tied the game at 5-5 in the third period. Late in the final period of the game, forwards Robert Repko and Andrew Reed each scored a goal in the final two minutes, 17 seconds, sealing the win for the Skatin’ Utes.

The Utes also made a personnel change at goalie for the second game, starting AJ Boldan rather than Oliver Freij. The switch was made because the coaching staff wants to give all of the goalies game experience.

Although his team won by only two goals in the final minutes, the Ute coach said he felt that the score was not fully indicative of his team’s performance.
“There was never any panic,” Bertagnolli said. “We pretty much dominated the entire game.”

In the end, the coaching staff was pleased with the team’s resilience during the weekend.
“We bounced back from a disappointing loss,” Bertagnolli said.

Reed’s four-point performance on Sunday provided the weekend’s top individual performance. He pitched in five points over the weekend, along with three apiece from forwards Ian McKelvie and Michael Vrtis.

This week, fans can catch Utah’s first home series against Boise State on Friday at 7 p.m., and Saturday at 8:30 p.m. The games will be played at the Salt Lake City Sports Complex on Guardsman Way. Free admission will be granted to dormitory residents Friday, and the members of the One Love Club on Saturday.

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