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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Hockey splits weekend series

By Jake Bullinger

Emotions always run high when playing instate rivals, and the Skatin’ Utes got a double dose of the intensity this weekend.

The Utes kicked off the weekend by travelling to Logan on Friday to face Utah State, where they suffered a tough 10-2 loss. Utah’s frustrating performance was exemplified by its inability to capitalize on power play situations. Rather than utilizing the tilted ice, the Utes allowed three shorthanded goals from the Aggies.

Along with the Utes’ defensive struggles, they posted arguably their worst offensive performance of the year. Utah only got off 21 shots, its lowest output of the season.

Although Utah State is one of the top teams in the Utes’ division, the Utah players felt the score was not indicative of their performance Friday.

“We had too many mistakes, and their team will capitalize on those mistakes,” said forward Ian McKelvie.

Despite a bitter start to the weekend, the Utes will be able to go into this week’s practices with optimism thanks to a thrilling overtime victory against Utah Valley University on Saturday night.

Utah was characterized by a lack of intensity for the first two periods of Saturday’s contest. Its offense lacked harmony, and the players were once again unable to benefit from power play opportunities.

Head coach Jon Bertagnolli said he felt the Utes’ slow start was because of the trying game the day before.

“We still had a little bit of a hangover from the intense game (Friday),” he said.

However, the third period produced a determined Utah squad that possessed a vigor unseen in the previous two periods. The Utah offense was much more effective at getting shots off in the third period. Finally, with 1 minute 35 seconds remaining in regulation, forward Michael Vrtis scored the tying goal and sent the game into overtime.

Defenseman Charles German pestered the Utah Valley offense in overtime, and goalie A.J. Boldan made a crucial one-on-one stop in the final two minutes. Boldan’s save was followed by yet another dramatic goal for the Utes: the game-winner provided by Ian McKelvie.

“I just wanted to get the shot off, and it ended up going in,” McKelvie said. “It definitely wasn’t one of the best shots, but it worked.”

“We played hard, and we found a way to win,” Bertagnolli said.

After a roller-coaster weekend, the Utes own a 6-3 record. As emotionally draining as the two games were for Utah, next weekend could prove to be more difficult as the Utes square off against their top rival.

This weekend, Utah is scheduled for a home-at-home with BYU. Friday’s game will be in Salt Lake City at 7 p.m., and Saturday’s contest will be in Provo at 7:30 p.m.

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