Bad blood, close proximity, fights and more make it must-see hockey when Utah Valley and BYU get together on the ice.
Maybe this Friday, in the fourth all-time meeting between the two schools, one team will have claim to the supremacy in the valley that is so talked about but yet to be realized.
The last meeting, earlier this season, Utah Valley scored four straight goals to take the lead before it ended in a 4-4 tie and left the record at 1-1-1 between the rivals.
While the intensity is sure to be there, the winner, if there is one, will get little more than bragging rights. That is enough of motivation, though.
Ranked No. 6 in the American Collegiate Hockey Association Division II Western Region, the Utah Valley hockey team’s national tournament hopes will have been decided by the time they play No. 8 BYU, but that doesn’t mean the game’s magnitude will be any less.
There are plenty of reasons why the game will be meaningful for both teams.
Of course the proximity of the two schools is one reason for the rivalry, but it hasn’t been nearly as intense in other sports between the two schools.
Hockey is one sport in which Utah Valley has been able to be competitive. The Wolverines have been unsuccessful against the Cougars in women’s volleyball, women’s soccer, rugby and more.
And Even though it’s been three years since Matt Beaudry left BYU after coaching the Cougars to their most successful seasons, the bad feelings haven’t departed. Beaudry came to Utah Valley to start a hockey program that is already competing with the region’s best teams.
BYU has been playing hockey for over 40 years but received something Utah Valley would love to get, sponsorship from the school. Utah Valley’s players don’t want to take a back seat to the Cougars for that, though.
BYU players’ and coaches comments about the rivalry haven’t made things any friendlier either. After BYU beat Utah Valley in the second meeting last year, the Cougars’ coach said Utah Valley had discipline problems and the Cougars won because they didn’t have the same problems. Before the first meeting this season, Derek Battisti said BYU has to not lower its playing standard to Utah Valley’s.
The Cougars also played in the regional tournament over the weekend, with a chance to make the national tournament.
Before the regional tournament, BYU beat Utah twice and lost to Utah State in its last three games.
It will be the final regular season game for Utah Valley. The game starts at 8:30 at the Peaks Ice Arena.