#9 Colorado State Finishes 5-Game Road Trip on High Note against Utah
Sandy, Utah- In the last game of their Spring Break trip to California and Utah, the Colorado State Rams (8-3) were able to finish strong as they defeated the University of Utah Utes (4-3) by a score of 12-6. The Rams set the pace of the game by going on an impressive 4-0 run to put them in a lead from which they wouldn’t look back after goals from Cooper Kehoe (Stevenson HS; CA), Clayton Wilbanks (Heritage HS; CO) and two from Paul Larson (Columbine HS; CO). Kehoe ended up with two goals on the day while Larson had three.<!--more--> Before the first period ended, Utah was able to put two goals past Alex Jacques (Bainbridge Island HS; WA), who otherwise played a great game. He tallied 13 saves against the Utes. Although the Rams played a much better game against Utah than the games against Chapman and BYU earlier in the week, they were struggling with clearing in the first half of the game. They were much more successful winning groundballs than against Chapman and BYU, and Pat Miller (Air Academy; CO) and Scott Gelston (Air Academy; CO) were both very successful on face-offs with a combined 15 wins out of 20 attempts. With the way the Rams started off this game, it seemed as if they would run away with the victory earlier on, but it was evident how tired the players were from the trip. They were ready to get back to Colorado. “I would say that we played this game with one eye on the bus,” said interim coach Alex Smith. “This was a long road trip and we were ready to get home. Sometimes you just have to grit out tough wins on the road and that’s what we did today. It wasn’t all the way pretty, but we played well enough to get the win.” The middle two periods were relatively even, with the Rams scoring one more goal in the second and third quarters than the Utes, but the fourth quarter was much like the first for the Rams. They were able to put four more past the Utah goalie before the game ended. Garrett Fugier (Regis Jesuit HS; CO) scored his second goal of the game in the fourth quarter, and Matt Jui (Columbine HS; CO) scored his two goals of the game in the period. Will Cantwell (Lakewood HS; CO) put his goal away in the third period. It was a successful win for the Rams, and a good way to end their road trip. They will have a few days off of practice to rest, and then they will play Utah State on the Colorado State campus on Friday at 4 p.m. It should be an exciting game for Colorado State since it is their first home game to be played on campus instead of in neighboring cities, and it will be head coach Flip Naumburg’s first game back with the team after his one month leave of absence. “3-2 is acceptable for this trip even though we would have liked to steal one from either Chapman or BYU,” said Smith. “Flip will be rejoining us going forward and I think we are all looking forward to that. It’s been a great experience for us to see how we do without him, but now hopefully he can help us kick it into an extra gear as we get ready for the end of the season.” It will be good to have coach Naumburg back with the team, but in his absence Alex Smith did an excellent job coaching the Rams to a 7-2 record.