Skatin? Utes beat Boise in home games

By Jake Bullinger, Staff Writer

The Utah hockey team is off to a hot start after taking both games from Boise State this weekend. Although the two games featured different styles of play, the Utes found ways to win and start off perfect at home, defeating the Broncos by scores of 5-1 and 6-3.

Saturday’s contest was a showcase of solid goaltending. The Utes’ defense dominated the game; goalie AJ Boldan stopped 28 of Boise’s 29 shot attempts. After allowing a goal with 8 minutes 43 seconds remaining in the first period, Boldan’s goaltending stifled the Broncos for the rest of the game.

“AJ made big saves when he needed to,” said head coach Jon Bertagnolli. “The timing and quality of his saves were excellent.”

Although Boldan’s performance between the posts was a high point for the Utes on Saturday, his job was made much easier by his defense. Because of the Utes’ defensive play, Utah was able to outshoot Boise State 47-29. Boldan said limiting the opponents’ shots is a source of pride for the Utes.

A key contributor to the Ute defense was Charles German. The physical play of the defenseman dissolved many potential shots for Boise State, especially in the second and third periods. Bertagnolli referred to German as a “game changer,” a term that was reinforced Saturday night.

“Somebody’s got to go out there and hit,” German said. “Everybody on this team has a role, and that happens to be mine.”

Although Utah showcased its defense Saturday, Sunday was a much more offensive-oriented game. Four goals were netted within the first six minutes of play, three of which were scored by Utah. The game then took a lethargic turn until late in the third period, when Utah scored two goals to ensure its 6-3 victory.

Those last two goals, along with two others, were netted by forward Ian McKelvie. His astonishing four-goal performance sparked an aggression that the Utah offense lacked the night before, and took a great deal of pressure off of the team defensively.

“I didn’t feel anything different coming in,” McKelvie said. “(Saturday) night was frustrating. I wanted to take advantage of opportunities.”

The fact that McKelvie found Saturday’s performance “frustrating” is a good omen for the Utes. McKelvie scored two goals that night, just as he did the game before at Mesa State. During his past three games, the Ute forward has netted eight goals.

Despite the contrasting playing styles in the two games, the Utes were able to get off a substantially higher number of shots than Boise State. Utah outshot Boise 104-68 during the weekend.

Utah will look to extend its win streak against Mesa State on Oct. 10. The game will be played on neutral ice in Vernal.

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