With a less than ideal start to the season, the Boise State men’s hockey club encountered their first test at home.
The Broncos began their first homestand of the season by playing four games in four days from Sept. 26-29. The team went 1-3 in Boise, defeating Williston State and suffering losses to Metro St. University – Denver, University of Mary and Northern Arizona University.
Sitting at 3-3 on the season, these are the three major takeaways regarding the team’s start.
They still have their goalscorer
After leading the blue and orange with 34 goals just a season ago, senior forward Eric Pinsky has wasted no time in continuing his success.
During the team’s first home game on Sept. 26, Pinsky completed a hat trick, scoring three of the team’s five goals in a 5-1 win over Williston State.
“It’s always fun for the fans, but it’s just another game,” Pinsky said. “My teammates just found me and I didn’t do too much. (The goals) were all gifts.”
Pinsky would go on to find the back of the net again in the next two matchups versus Metro St. University – Denver and against American Collegiate Hockey Association powerhouse the University of Mary.
The Broncos have shown some fight, but just too late
Just one day after their triumph over Williston State, the Broncos would find themselves down 3-0 in the third period against Metro St. University – Denver. With less than five minutes left in the game, back to back goals brought the Broncos within just one score. However, the hole dug was just too big to climb out of. Boise State would go on to lose 3-2.
The team was in a similar situation just two days later. Tied at 1-1, Northern Arizona University scored three goals in less than four minutes. Just when everyone in Century Link Arena thought the game was over, the Broncos came surging back, scoring two goals in less than two minutes.
However, with just 1:38 left on the clock, Northern Arizona would put the final nail in the coffin by scoring again before the end of regulation.
For the players, the lack of success over the weekend was less of a technical error and more of a mental one.
“We came out strong the first game, but took a break and didn’t show up prepared for the rest of the games,” said sophomore defenseman Thomas Pollon. “The mental capacity to play smart and play our game fell apart.”
Boise has struggled against bigger programs
One of the three losses by the Broncos at home over the weekend would come against the No. 1 team in the West Division, University of Mary. While not completely surprised at the outcome, Boise State coaches and players knew that the game should have been closer.
“We should have stayed with that team through the whole game,” said head coach Lloyd Ayers. “There’s some intimidation from the younger guys because of the big players on the other team. We just need to get them to buy into the system.”
Ayers’ players recognize the difficulty in competition the group has faced and will continue to face.
“This was a top 10 showcase and probably one of the best in the country,” Pinsky said. “We’ll see pretty much the same competition next week in Bismark.”
The competition that Pinsky is alluding to is the Broncos’ rematch against the University of Mary on Oct. 4, as well as a date with the back to back ACHA D2 national champions, Florida Gulf Coast University on Oct. 6.
If the Broncos want any shot at an upset in North Dakota, they can not repeat the same mistakes made in Boise this past weekend.
“When you’re playing two of the top teams like (University of Mary and Florida Gulf Coast University), the key is going to be making sure we play good solid defense and wearing the team down by forechecking hard,” Ayers said.