Utah Men’s Hockey Drops Friday Matinee Against Arizona in Shootout


Kevin Cody

(Photo by Kevin Cody | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Chase Mullin, Assistant Sports Editor


The University of Utah men’s hockey team fell to the University of Arizona 2-1 in a shootout Friday afternoon in Tucson. Friday’s game was the first of a two-game weekend series against the Wildcats, and the Utes will be back in action tomorrow at 1 p.m MDT.

It was quite a rare sighting for the Skatin’ Utes: a low-scoring game. The Utes had averaged 4.125 goals per game against Arizona’s 3.25 goals against per game coming into Friday’s contest. Friday’s game, which stood at 1-1 at the end of regulation, was the lowest-scoring game the Utes had played all season long.

The Wildcats struck first with a power-play goal in the first period by Arizona forward Will Josephson, finishing the first period with a 1-0 lead. After a scoreless second period, the Wildcats would maintain their slim lead well into the third period.

With 7:35 remaining in regulation, Arizona defensemen Ben Jones was booked for tripping, sending the Utes to the power play. Just 14 seconds later, after winning the faceoff and cycling the puck through the offensive zone, Utes forward Wyatt Light snapped a wrist shot from the point that was tipped on goal by Utes forward McKay Pond. Despite getting a piece of the tip, the puck barely slipped past Arizona netminder Anthony Ciurro to tie the game at 1-1.

The game would remain back and forth for the next seven minutes. With less than ten seconds left in regulation, Arizona forward Duke Litwin was denied by Utes goaltender Landon Anderson on a breakaway to send the game to a five-minute three-on-three overtime and secure at least one point for the Utes in the WCHL standings.

For those who don’t watch hockey, three-on-three sudden-death overtime in hockey is one of the most entertaining spectacles in all of sports, as the open ice provides for constant back and forth scoring chances. The five-minute overtime period between the Utes and Wildcats was no exception, as the teams traded grade-A scoring chances throughout. The Wildcats would hit the crossbar a little over a minute into overtime, and within seconds of the game almost ending, Utes forward Alexander King would spring fellow forward Light on a breakaway, where Light’s game winning attempt was met with an absolute robbery of a save from Arizona’s Ciurro.

The game would then go to a shootout, where Arizona forward Greg Malafronte would score the only goal, leading the Wildcats to a 1-0 shootout victory and a 2-1 victory in the game.

The Utes now fall to 4-3-2 on the season. Coming into the season, the Wildcats were considered by many to be favorites in the WCHL, however, Friday’s win improved the Wildcats record to just 5-5, with two of their losses coming at the hands of Utah in the season’s opening series in Salt Lake City earlier this month. The Utes will gladly take a point on the road, and they look to get revenge with a win tomorrow against the Wildcats.


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