November 23, 2015
Salt Lake City, Utah
The University of Utah Skatin’ Utes looked to continue their record-breaking start to the season last weekend at the Beehive Showcase and came away with a weekend split that saw their unbeaten streak come to an end.
The showcase pitted eight of the top nine teams in the West Division against each other in a weekend that saw a ton of great college hockey and helped shine a light on who the pretenders and contenders are in the race for the four tickets to Nationals at season’s end.
The Utes’ unbeaten streak survived the first game of the weekend as the team took on Arizona State’s 6th ranked Maroon squad for the first and only time this season. After a scoreless first period, Utah found a goal halfway through the second as Dean Wilson put one home to give Utah a 1-0 lead. Arizona State would have an answer just 30 seconds later to tie the game up at 1-1, which would be the score heading into the third period.
With game still tied, veteran Josh Dangel came alive in the third with two unanswered goals to give the Utes a 3-1 lead, which would end up being the final score. It was the 16th win of the season for Utah and kept their unbeaten and not trailing streaks alive for another day. The Utes would outshoot the Sun Devils 38-21 in the game as Chris Komma picked up his 7th win of the season, stopping 20 of 21 shots.
On Friday, the Utes took on #9 Northern Arizona for the final time this season, looking for a season series win with the Utes already earning a win and a draw against the Icejacks this season. NAU would come out flying in the first period by capitalizing on Utah’s mistakes to take a 3-0 lead after the first period. The first goal by NAU just over seven minutes in put an end to Utah’s not trailing streak, as they fell behind in a game for the first time since the first period of the season opener against UNLV. The streak ended at 955 minutes and 39 seconds, and will most likely stand in Utah Hockey history for a very long time.
The Utes attempted to mount a comeback in the second and third periods with a goal by Brett Myer and two by Tyler Kugler but it would not be enough as the Utes ran out of time and suffered their first loss of the season by a score of 4-3, despite outshooting the Icejacks 33-25 in the game. The loss means that the Utes split the season series with NAU at 1-1-1 this year and it also put an end to Utah’s unbeaten streak, which finished at 18 games. Komma would pick up the loss in net for Utah, stopping 21 of 25 shots in the game.
Utah looked to bounce back from the loss on Saturday against the 5th ranked Boise State Broncos in the first of three meetings between these two teams this season. Utah controlled the pace most of the way outshooting Boise State 38-22 in the contest and led 2-0 after the first period with goals by Brett Myer and Michael Ahern. Both sides would score once in the second to make it 3-1 and the Utes would hold on after giving up a goal with 14 seconds left to take a 3-2 win.
Devan Betts would pick up his 7th win of the season with a 20-save performance in goal for the Utes as they pushed their record to 17-1-2 on the season. Once again, Utah did not trail at any point in the game against the Broncos.
Sunday morning’s finale to the Beehive Showcase was Utah’s toughest test of the season, as the team took on #1 Arizona State Elite. The battle of the top two teams in the West went as expected, with both teams getting multiple opportunities on each side. The Sun Devils would strike first on the power play hallway through the first period to put them ahead 1-0, a lead they would hold through the rest of the period. Utah would have an answer in the second as David Barnes and Dean Wilson scored goals five minutes into the second to give Utah a 2-1 lead. The teams would exchange chance after chance but the Utes would hold their 2-1 lead going into the final period of the weekend.
As it has done so many times in the past, the penalty bug bit Utah hard in the third period, which led to two more power play goals in the third period and Arizona State would come from behind to beat the Utes 3-2. The Utes were only able to kill off two of the five penalties that they took as ASU went 3 for 5 on the power play which ultimately ended up dooming the Utes. The Utes were outshot for the first time this season as well, being outshot 42-31. Komma would pick up the loss for Utah in the game with 39 saves.
With the weekend’s results, the Utes ended up splitting the showcase for the third straight year at 2-2 on the weekend. The Utes would finish 4th in the showcase behind ASU Elite (4-0), Utah State (3-1), and NAU (3-1).