Forward Scott Portnov drives the puck against Weber State Oct. 23. The hockey team is looking to beat CSU Thursday and Friday. (CU Independent file/Adam Alberti)
It could be a curse or bad luck, but head coach Ken Fikis said he thinks it has been a while since the Colorado Buffaloes have pulled out a home win against the Colorado State Rams.
“I think they have lost six in a row to CSU, so I think they are ready to play and finally win a game,” Fikis said. “I just hope the kids play up to their potential. It’s a big game, they are going to have a little bit of butterflies and be a little jittery playing in the Pepsi Center. I just hope they can play as well as they did two weeks ago. If they do that, I know we can win the game.”
The CU men’s club hockey team will be designated as the home team at 7 p.m. on Thursday in the Pepsi Center. On Friday, the two in-state rivals will battle again at CU’s Recreation Center. The Buffs hope to break the home losing streak against the Rams.
Regardless if the Buffs win, a good match-up is expected. Think speed versus aggression because that is exactly what the Buffs are expecting.
“I’d say we’re more of a finesse team, not the most physical team,” said forward Conor Williams. “We’re more of a fast team—we got a lot of fast guys. You know, we’re not the biggest team and physicality is not our biggest attribute. They are pretty deep. They got a lot of big defensemen; they got a lot of strength at their forward’s position. So you know, it’s going to be tough but we have been playing real well lately, so we feel good going into it.”
“I think we’re quicker than CSU,” said junior forward Max Myers. “They might be a little more physical than us—they have been in the past—but I definitely think those games we win off of our speed and our offense more. Speed is our strength.”
As far as the team’s strategy goes, Fikis says it’s a combination of offense and defense.
“I firmly believe that you take care of your own end first,” Fikis said. “In amateur hockey, if you allow three goals, then you’ll win 90 percent of your games. So basically, we work defense first, don’t let the other team score, and then we do whatever we can in the offensive zone.”
The Buffs may be outweighed physically by the Rams, but they are still looking forward to playing their local rivals
“We had a slow little start this year, but we beat Weber [State] and Eastern Washington last weekend and I’m feeling pretty confident going into it,” Myers said. “Of course, whenever we play them, we battle. It’s fun. Either one of us could win, but I’m pretty confident.”
Williams, however, said he wants the win.
“I’m looking forward to winning at home,” Williams said. “This is my third year here and we haven’t won a game at home against CSU yet. For the seniors, I don’t think they’ve won a home game against CSU. We have won at their rink a few times but we never won at home against them, so everyone is really looking forward to doing that, especially the seniors.”
The only fact is this game will be quite the rivalry. But, can the Buffs speed past the Rams aggression? The answer will reveal itself the next two nights beginning at the Pepsi Center.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Gina Yocom at Gina.email@example.com.
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