All photos courtesy of John Zsiray/UStateAgs.com
In the first game after Christmas vacation, rust was to be expected of both the Utah State Aggies and the BYU Icecats in their first games back.
What also might have been expected was the 6-2 margin of victory the Aggies found when the final horn sounded. The game was played in front of an record 1,449 fans.
What wasn't expected was the intense rivalry and hatred that developed as the game between the two teams progressed Friday night at the Eccles Ice Center.
The teams combined for over 130 penalty minutes, with seven misconduct penalties, all occuring in the third period. One of the third period penalties, a crosscheck called on BYU's Derrick Battiste sent USU's Jacob Guttormsen out of the game on a stretcher and to Logan Regional Hospital.
The hit to Guttormsen occured at approximately 10:15 p.m. and by 10:32, the injured Aggie was being removed from the ice on a stretcher.
According to team physician Dr. Jim Davis, Guttormsen may have chipped the fourth cervical level of his vertebrae, and was taken to the hospital for x-rays.
The injury to Guttormsen was not the only casualty of the game however; one BYU player received an AC seperation in his shoulder, and a USU fan was struck in the face with a rogue puck, being sent to the hospital after suffering an injury to his upper lip and gums.
Freshman Josh Groves, who had been playing defense for the Aggies until this point of the season was the starting goalie, and held the Ice Cats to only two goals, both of which occured in a 20 second timeframe in the second period.
"You've just got to shake it off," Groves said of having two goals scored on him in succession.
Aggie head coach Jerry Crossley praised Groves for his game, saying he has filled every role the team has asked of him throughout the season.
More to come later.