The MSU Hockey team started its season on Friday in Butte, where they pulled out a 2-2 tie despite losing in a shootout, 2-1. “It’s a tie in the books, but everybody took it as a loss,” said defenseman Calvin Rich. Although shootouts only determine the outcomes of tournament games, “I know a lot of guys who would have liked to win that shootout,” said Rich.
During the team’s home opener on Saturday, the crowd in the Haynes Pavillion at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds enjoyed an early lead, when Alec Goplen scored for the Cats. The lead didn’t last long, as the Butte Orediggers scored a goal less than 10 seconds later to tie it.
Again, the Cats started the second period with a goal — this time from James Despain — to take a 2-1 lead, but with just over nine minutes left in the period Butte tied the game. MSU’s Chase Raffaele slapped a shot that bounced off the post with 4:20 left in the second period, and the teams hit the locker room in a 2-2 tie.
The third period was a disaster for the Cats, as Butte scored three goals in the first five minutes. The Cats weren’t about to quit, however, and John Despain scored with roughly eight minutes left. Casey Lutz brought the Cats within one goal less than a minute later.
Butte got a power play with five minutes left and took advantage, scoring an insurance goal to make it 6-4. “We focused on decreasing penalties [after our last game in Butte], but we never did it,” Rich said.
“We took too many penalties, which cost us the game,” said goalie Will Thompson. The Cats travel next weekend to face Utah and BYU.
“We might beat Utah,” Rich said. “We’re going to be pretty ticked after this, and we have nice, new uniforms to show off down there.”
The next home games will be Nov. 2 and 3 against Boise State at 7:30 p.m.