The Wolverine hockey team ended their season with a 4-6 loss to BYU in a neck-to-neck battle that went down to the wire at Seven Peaks Arena.
Jeff Jiron, Slava Ivenenko, Weston Nash and Jeff Potempa all scored for the Wolverines, but it was not enough. UVU shot a total of 44 shots compared to BYU’s 37, but in the end, the Cougars had fresh legs and scored four unanswered goals in the last six minutes of the match.
“I think we played hard,” said captain Eric Bowman. “It’s hard to play 60 minutes of hockey when you only have three lines of guys. You look at our bench compared to theirs — they had 25 guys and we have 15. Obviously, we got tired at the end.”
UVU battled back after being in an early 2-0 rut in the first quarter and answered back by taking control and the lead for the first time in the game with a score of 4-3. Goalie Tyler St. Jeore saved six pucks in the last five minutes of the second period.
It was in the third quarter that UVU ran out of steam and gave BYU momentum. After a penalty against the Wolverines in the seventh minute, the one-down Cougars took advantage of the power play to tie the score 4-4.
The Cougars dominated face-offs 37-27 in the match, and as to penalties, the Wolverines committed five more than the Cougars. In the last minutes of the game, UVU assistant captain Jeffery Rawling took off the gloves to fight a Cougar after a cheap shot, giving the UVU crowd something to cheer about after a tough season.
“I feel we’ve gotten better over the season,” Bowman said. “We’ve just been fighting through difficulties all year. It seemed like every week a new problem would arise, whether it was with money or something else. So we were kind of limited on a lot of things, but we still managed to get better. It shows a lot about the character of the team.”
Bowman couldn’t say enough good about his teammates and the students for sticking with them after such a disappointing year. Bowman tought his team to put their “heart and soul into the season,” and was proud that every player finished out the year.