Utes Face Pair of Ranked Teams in First Road Weekend
October 11, 2018
After four games at the friendly confines of the Utah Ice Sheet that arguably saw the biggest win in Utah’s short history at the ACHA Division I level, the University of Utah Skatin’ Utes hit the road for the first time this season as they make the trip to North Dakota.
The Utes will play a three-game weekend starting on Thursday as they take on Jamestown followed by two games in Minot against Minot State.
Utah is coming off a split weekend with then 12th ranked UNLV at home last Friday and Saturday that saw the Utes fall 6-4 but bounce back with a 4-1 win on Saturday night. The Rebels are now ranked 10th in this week’s ACHA Division I Coaches’ Poll that was released on Wednesday while the Utes are on the outside looking in after receiving votes in the poll for the second straight week.
The Utes are 1-6 all-time against the Jamestown Jimmes, who fell from 13th to 16th in this week’s poll after a weekend split with Minot State last weekend (3-2 win and 2-1 shootout loss). The Jimmies are 1-2-1 so far in the early season, losing twice at now 14th ranked Missouri State to open the season. The Utes have never won in Jamestown (0-3), but all three meetings have been decided by three goals or less.
After Thursday’s contest in Jamestown, the Utes will make the three-hour drive north to Minot, ND to take on the Minot State Beavers. The Beavers are year in and year out one of the best teams in all of ACHA hockey, but this year’s team feels a little different up in North Dakota. The once senior-heavy lineup is now full of young talent as the Beavers are off to a 2-2-1 start and fell from 2nd to 5th in the poll this week. But don’t sleep on Minot State, as the Utes are 0-5 all-time against them and will be looking for their first win over them in program history.
Another thing to pay attention to when it comes to the Minot State series is that the Beavers have a three-game weekend as well as #3 Illinois heads to Minot on Thursday, followed by Jamestown on Friday and Saturday. The Illini and Beavers met in the semifinals at last year’s Nationals with Illinois picking up the 4-2 win, so expect the Beavers to be looking for payback on Thursday which could influence the weekend series against Utah.
Utah is 3-1 heading into their first road weekend of the season, and a win or two in North Dakota could pay big dividends for the Utes down the stretch later in the season. Connor Meaney leads the way offensively for Utah with seven points in four games and defenseman Tristen Leberknight has been getting it done on the blue line with six assists already this season. Rookie Wyatt Light had a breakthrough game last Saturday against UNLV with two goals and could be a potential factor for the Utes offensively in North Dakota.
Thursday night’s game against #16 Jamestown will be at 6pm MT. Friday and Saturday’s games against #5 Minot State will be at 6:30pm MT.