Oregon hockey falls 5-1 to Utah in Pac-8 Championship
In the Pac-8 Championship, No. 3 Oregon hockey fell to No. 1 Utah, 5-1. Both teams were evenly matched at 5-on-5 play, but frequent penalties cost the Ducks the opportunity to pull ahead. Of the 47 penalties in the game, 31 of them belonged to Oregon. There were 134 penalty minutes total.
Oregon (14-10, 6-4 Pac-8) entered the final round as the underdogs and with a chip on its shoulder. Utah (24-12-2, 7-1 Pac-8) was not only a team that is consistently on top, but a team that Oregon lost to in the finals two years ago. Additionally, Utah was slightly more rested for this game. It was only their second game of the tournament, but Oregon’s third.
Both teams had exceptional goaltenders in net. Utah goaltender Chris Komma was named to the first-team for the Pac-8 All Stars and Ducks goaltender Danny Cockriel was named third-team.
Cockriel made some especially remarkable saves in the game, shutting down multiple 5-on-4 and 5-on-3 Utah power plays, as well as a penalty shot in the second period.
The Ducks were outplayed in the first period, but it wasn’t by much. Utah’s Dean Wilson had the first shot on goal, followed thirty seconds later by Oregon’s Trevor Shott.
When Oregon picked up the first penalty of the game 7 minutes in, it only took 14 seconds for Utah to fire off two shots against Cockriel. As the power play ended, Cockriel also made a diving save before a Duck picked up the rebound to take it out of their zone. The entire Utah power play was spent in the Oregon zone, an indicator of what would come later in the game as penalties started rolling in.
Three minutes later, Utah scored its first goal while Oregon’s Michael Luke sat in the penalty box for a roughing infraction.
The second Utah goal happened with both teams at regular strength. The puck hit the post before popping in. Utah now had a 2-0 lead.
The second period was scoreless, but contained a penalty shot after an interference call was ruled against the Ducks after Cockriel made a huge against Utes’ Shaymus Bertagnolli on a breakaway. The Utes were unable to capitalize on the penalty shot; Cockriel knocked the puck away with his right leg.
The third period is where the Utes pulled ahead and eliminated the Ducks’ chance for a comeback. Their third goal happened during a 5-on-3 power play as two Ducks sat in the penalty box. It was a little more than 6 minutes into the period.
The fourth unanswered Utah goal in a row happened with 7:17 left in the game. Before the goal, the referee had his hand raised to call a delayed penalty on Luke, but before the whistle was blown and after the goal was scored a skirmish broke out in front of the Oregon net. The net was sent toppling sideways, jerseys were grabbed and Luke was ejected from the game. Leaving the Ducks down a defenseman and still needing someone to serve the penalty from before the fight.
After the ejection, Oregon had a little luck. Alex Sulitzer put Oregon on the board and denied Komma the shutout. Sulitzer blazed up the ice toward the Utah net and fired of a laser of a shot. The puck didn’t go behind Komma, but instead crossed the goal line because Komma had retreated backward too far into his crease while attempting to make the save.
The final goal of the game went to Utah’s Josh Dangel with 3:05 left on the clock. The game ended 5-1 with Utah as the Pac-8 Champions.
Follow Anne Yilmaz on Twitter @anneyilmaz.
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