A long-standing rivalry between teams provide players with a passion to win.
“Every time we play them it’s always a bittersweet rivalry game,” said junior forward Mark Viau of the Colorado Buffaloes’ game against Utah State. “We go down there and their fans are jawing at us, and we had some fans out tonight that were supporting us. We’ve been having some tight games the last couple of years.”
Tensions were high as the Buffs club hockey team won 5-3 over the Aggies at the CU Student Rec Center ice rink.
The first and second periods brought numerous penalties to both teams that helped supply most of the intensity in the arena on Saturday night. Colorado finished with 11 penalties, while Utah State ended up with 10.
Nevertheless, neither this rivalry nor the penalty problems slowed down the Buffs one bit.
With 10:33 left in the first period, Viau scored an unassisted goal for the Buffs’ first goal of the night.
Then, at 4:14 in the first, Colorado struck again as junior forward Conor Williams found the back of the net — with senior Max Myers getting the assist — making the score 2-0.
Just two minutes later, Viau picked up his second goal of the night on an assist coming from junior defenseman Scott Cooley, giving the Buffs the three goal lead.
With 1:22 left in the first period, freshman John Park scored an unassisted goal, giving Colorado the 4-0 lead heading into the locker room.
The second period was not as generous to the Buffs, as they found their way to the penalty box eight times in the period, giving the Aggies their chance to rally back.
At 11:20 in the second period, Utah State’s Matt Ferris slid an unassisted goal past CU goaltender Kevin Litinksy for the Aggies’ first of the night.
Twenty-two seconds later, the Aggies struck gold again, but this time by defenseman Macej Michalik after a great cross ice pass by Matt Hamilton, bringing the score to 4-2.
“I felt like we gained a lot of momentum in the first and then we got a little chippy in the second,” Litinsky said. “We found ourselves in the box and that took our momentum away.”
Even with their declining momentum, Colorado hashed out another goal just 40 seconds into the third period, giving them five goals to end the night.
Utah State tried to fight back and scored another one with 14:09 left in the third, but they were held by the Buffs’ defense as they went on to lose the game.
Even though this game goes down as a win for CU, head coach Ken Fikis said it wasn’t the kind of win he would prefer.
“It’s an ugly win,” Fikis said. “You don’t like to win when you play good for a period and then you quit playing after that. You can’t win on one period, and that’s what they did. That’s what I call an ugly win.”
It may not have been pretty, but this win puts Colorado at 2-0 for the season. Also, Viau said that there is a positive facet of this win for the team.
“It was a good win for the younger guys,” Viau said. “They showed some composure to hold them off in the third.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Kayla Cornett at Kayla.firstname.lastname@example.org.