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Men's Preview — Week 10

It’s hard to believe that we’re already ten weeks into the college season, but here we are. Conference and national tournaments are just a few short weeks away, making wins more important than ever for many teams across the state. Last week Westminster remained undefeated in conference play with an Elias Fairman goal to win in overtime RECAP, and both UVU and USU hosted and lost to Colorado and CSU. PHOTOS: Utah Valley & Utah State. The Utes and Cougars both had game-free weeks as they prepared for this week’s trip to Colorado. Let’s see how things stack up this week (all times MDT):
4/7 – Utah @ Colorado State – 7:00pm
The Utes have a tough task on their hands in looking for the upset against No. 9 CSU. The Rams are on a five-game winning streak and have lost their only two games of the season to ranked teams by a total of just three goals. Utah, on the other hand, hasn’t had much luck against ranked teams this season, and they’ll be playing on the road where they’ve won just a single game this season.
2016-UtahState-Colorado-MCLA-164/7 – BYU @ Colorado – 7:00pm
This game will be a rematch of last year’s controversial RMLC championship game, and it should be a good one. BYU is ranked No. 5 and Colorado No. 6, and the Buffaloes blew through Utah last week, easily taking down USU and UVU. Colorado’s strength is on offense, where five players are averaging over two points per game, but their defense is suspect, with sophomore goalie Jensen Makarov saving just 61% of shots on cage and the team giving up 10 goals a contest. This means that it will be a strength versus strength contest, as BYU brings their experienced defense and young offense to town. The Buffs are 4-3 against ranked teams this season, while the Cougs are 5-2, making this one anyone’s contest. (Check out our pick ’em for this game HERE)
4/8 – Westminster @ Adams State – 4:00pm
The Adams State Grizzlies are 2-5 on the season, splitting their only conference games against Rockhurst University, while the Griffins are undefeated in conference play. The Grizzlies struggle at the faceoff X, winning just 27% of their draws, and between the pipes, where goaltender Connor Johnson is saving just 55% of shots faced. If Westminster can shut down leading goal-scorer Seth Stowell, they should walk away with the win.
4/8 – Utah State @ Montana State – 7:00pm
The Aggies will face a real test in MCLA D-II Montana State. The Bobcats are undefeated this season, including a win against Metro State who knocked off USU just two weeks ago. Montana State relies on a powerful offense, having been held under ten goals just once this season and having scored more that twenty in three contests. The Bobcats rely heavily on their attack duo of Louis Richman and Mitch Paige, who are averaging an astounding 7 and 5 points per game, respectively. Sophomore Jack Pugh wins almost 70% of his draws at the faceoff X, as well. The Aggies will have to play a near-flawless game to get the W on the road here.
4/9 – Utah State v. Great Falls – 11:00am
Playing Great Falls should be a nice turnaround for the Aggies; The Argos have won just a single game this season in MCLA D-II play and have given up an average of 17 goals per contest in their last five games. The Argos have one real threat on offense — junior attackman Joshua Smith who averages almost three points per game. If the Aggies can get their offense in gear and shut down #28, they should come away victorious.2016-UtahState-Colorado-MCLA-02
4/9 – Utah @ Colorado– 1:00pm
The Utes road trip doesn’t get any easier as they take on No. 6 Colorado. The Buffs have rolled in conference play so far, including a big win over UVU who beat Utah earlier this season. The Buffaloes haven’t lost to an unranked opponent since 2012 and will be looking to keep that streak alive against Utah. Crazier things have happened, but the Utes will need to be firing on all cylinders if they want to shock the MCLA world this weekend.
4/9 – BYU @ Colorado State– 5:00pm
This game should be especially fun, not just because it’s a top-10 rivalry game, but also because it will be played in Colorado State’s Hughes Stadium. The Rams are a very similar team to the Cougars, relying heavily on their defense and sustained possessions to get wins, having given up ten goals just once this entire season. CSU relies on steady possessions that start with FOS Ryan Chamberlain who’s winning a stellar 75% of match-ups at midfield (BYU’s Jack Vassau wins 69%), and junior attackman Brian Taggart quarterbacks the offense, leading the team with 14 assists. This is another game that could go either way this weekend.
4/10 – Westminster @ CSU-Pueblo– 12:00pm
The CSU-Pueblo Thunderwolves have a pretty incredible mascot, but they’re only 3-5 on the season and 0-2 in conference play. The Thunderwolves have trouble in the cage, where they’re saving just 44% of shots on goal, but they also score a lot, averaging over 12 goals a game. The Pueblo offense is led by freshman Nick Matzeck, who has 20 goals and 28 total points on the season, and senior Modaffari Jamil, with 15 goals and 20 total points. If Westminster can control time of possession and put shots on cage, they should come away with the W.

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