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Colorado Outruns BYU

The BYU Cougars made the long trip to Colorado to take on the Colorado Buffaloes in a top-10 match-up Thursday evening. CU started the game with two quick goals, and that set the tone for the rest of the game. BYU was playing catch-up all night, and could not get a toe-hold. The Buffaloes’ quickness proved to be the Cougars’ undoing, and Colorado won 15-10.
In the first quarter CU face-off specialist, Zane O’Brien, took the opening draw, burned past BYU’s defense and scored in less than twenty seconds. He also won the second face, transitioned to offense, and Buffalo middie Max Weisner scored the second CU goal with barely two minutes off the clock. The Cougars settled in, gaining possession and passing around. Chris Severson scored BYU’s first goal — a worm-burner left to right to get the Cougars on the board with 5:56 left in the quarter. After a face-off violation, the Buffaloes were in man-up, but BYU managed to hold them off. However, with 1:24 left in the quarter, John Clayton gave CU a two-goal lead, and on the ensuring face-off, won again by O’Brien, Buffalo attackman Ben Wharton closed out the quarter with a strong goal giving CU a 4-1 lead at the end of one quarter.
BYU CU 2016BYU face-off specialist Jack Vassau snatched the first draw of the second quarter. CU goalie Jensen Makarov saved one shot, but Cougar attackman Winston Farley scored his first goal sneaking it in through traffic. CU came back with the next draw and middie Jake Gonzales found the back of the net. Vassau won the next face, and the Cougars mounted a comeback with a goal from Tanner Johnson assisted by Harry Waddoups. CU did not want to let the momentum shift, and quickly shut the Y down with a win in the face and a sneaky goal from Carter Esqueda low to high from around the left crease. The Buffaloes padded their lead with a shot from Wharton assisted by Esquada, and then things went from bad to worse for BYU. A Cougar long-pole was assessed a two-minute non-releasable penalty. CU scored quickly, running their lead up to five goals. Vassua dug deep pulling out a much needed draw, and BYU called a time-out. The Cougs put their fastest guys on the field, led by Chase Paulsen, and they successfully burned the remainder of the penalty with no more harm. BYU started a run on that momentum with goals from Waddoups assisted by Farley, Chase Miller unassisted, and Waddoups assisted by Farley again to end the quarter on a high note, and bring them within two. At half-time it was CU 8-BYU 6.
CU did not let the Cougars enjoy their end-of-half momentum, grabbing up the first draw of the third quarter. Clayton quickly scored unassisted to increase the Buffaloes’ lead back to three. BYU gained possession on the next draw, but were unable to capitalize. Instead, CU middie Hunter Molnar put in his first goal and the lead was back to four. The Cougars won a possession, and took a time-out. Johnson scored with an assist from Andrew Bertha on the designed play, giving BYU its only goal of the quarter. The third ended with a messy face-off eventually won by UC, and Esqueda put in his second goal to end the quarter with a comfortable four-goal lead, CU 11-BYU 7.
CU GoalieBYU had early fourth quarter possessions, but were unable to score. The Cougars gave CU another extra man opportunity, and Clayton made good with his third goal. CU won the next face, but Cougar goalie Matt Brandenburg saved their shot, returning the ball to Bertha. He ran the length of the field, swept left to right and continued through, scoring unassisted for a little Cougar spark. Vassua won the next face, and Severson burned around crease left, pushed his way through traffic, turned and scorched the net, giving the Cougars a chance. The Buffaloes squashed the Cougs’ hopes with two draws and two goals, a great save, and another goal. Severson scored one final goal for the Cougars off a fast break transition, but it was not meant to be for BYU. The final score was University of Colorado 15-BYU 10.
After a great early-season start, the Cougars are now struggling with two consecutive losses. Coach Matt Schneck reported BYU is trying to find the right balance offensively, and after their loss to Grand Canyon, mixed it up a little looking for different chemistry. The ten goals indicates BYU is on the right track, but Coach Schneck admitted it was a poor showing defensively. He said, “CU did a great job on their backside cuts, and there are other areas [BYU] can improve. We’re having trouble with execution and tight defense, but on the positive side, this game felt different. On the field, these guys had fight in them.”
BYU has a critical game at Colorado State on Saturday, April 9th at 5:00 pm. University of Colorado will host the University of Utah Saturday. The outcome of both games will likely impact the conference tournament pairings and playoff potential for both teams.

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