It rained, and then it rained some more, and then it kept on raining, but that didn’t stop BYU from giving Utah a sound beating. The Cougars controlled the ball from the opening draw until the final whistle, allowing nearly every player on the roster to get on the field while Utah struggled to maintain possession. BYU was the better team today, winning easily, 15 to 4.
The game started with BYU face-off specialist, Jack Vassau, winning the first draw. Teammate Jack Fabrizio took the ball to the Cougar side, and drew first blood with a screamer within the first minute. Utah won the next face off and turned it over. Going the other way, BYU’s Tanner Johnson found the back of the net. Vassau won the next draw and passed to Chase Miller who slipped it in the net. It was 3 to 0 with less than five minutes off the clock. Vassau snatched the next face, and Fabrizio took it to the cage again with an assist from Winston Farley. The Cougs took the next draw and sprinted downfield, but Utah goalie Quinton Swinney made his first save. He cleared to Matthew Dykes, who ran the length and scorched the net finally getting the Utes on the board. On the next draw, BYU longpole Caleb Andrews came out of the scrum with the ball. He sprinted down the right side and shot, taking Utah by surprise and earning his first goal of the year. BYU ended the quarter with a goal from Harry Waddoups, left side laser, high-to-high assisted by Andrew Bertha, and excellent defense and goalie work. The Cougars had a secure lead, 7 to 1 at the end of one.
BYU slowed the play down in the second and subbed, but that didn’t stop them from scoring. Waddoups found the back of the net again, this time assisted by Alex Yost. Utah’s goalie was peppered with shots and made several great saves, but Zach Pexton managed to sneak one in past him mid-quarter. Cougar defenders Arty Walters, Tyler Needs, Calvin Baer and Boston Handley were merciless in picking off Utah passes, forcing turnovers, and denying any opportunities for shots. The quarter passed quickly with no significant threats from the Utes, and the half ended with BYU comfortably in the lead, 9 to 1.
Utah started the second half with a win in the draw, but BYU goalie Matt Brandenburg pulled in a save. The Cougars were penalized giving the Utes their first extra-man opportunity with a non-releasable foul. Brandenburg gobbled up the first shot and cleared, but Utah forced BYU to turn it over. The Utes’ Parker Ika started a little run when he rolled from left to right, turned, and shot across body, giving Utah its second goal. He scored again on the next possession, giving the Utes a little morale boost. Utah’s Connor Boss won the next face, and Dykes put in a third unanswered goal. BYU gifted the Utes another penalty, giving them another man-up, but Brandenburg saved and cleared. Just as Utah was gaining momentum, the Cougars popped their balloon with an unassisted goal from Bertha. The third quarter ended with one more BYU goal from Waddoups, assisted by Zach Labrum, and a penalty against Utah. The Cougars ran out the clock heading into the final quarter leading 11 to 4.
BYU began the fourth in man-up position and a quick stick goal from Winston Farley, front and center, assisted by Fabrizio. Vassau pulled in the next draw and Bertha bounced in his second. The Cougars continued to move the ball well, giving players ample opportunities for shots. Zach Labrum found the back of the net, and with one last man-up opportunity, Tanner Johnson secured himself a hat trick. The Cougars won their final regular season game handily, 15 to 4, finishing the season with 10 wins and 4 losses. Utah concluded the regular season with a 5-win, 8-loss record.
Coach Schneck said he was happy that the team played well, putting them in a great place for the RMLC tournament next weekend. He stated, “Almost everyone played, which was nice. Our speed and efficiency was a step up, and hopefully that will translate into success next week.” BYU will kick off the RMLC tournament Friday, April 29th, with a game at 4:00 pm at McCarthey field.