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College hockey: UW Huskies and BYU Split Weekend Series

- UW closes out 2015 calendar year with weekend split with BYU; James Feldman earns first shutout of hockey career; Huskies goes on road for next six games

James Feldman
James Feldman
University of Washington Ice Hockey via Facebook

MOUNTLAKE TERRACE - James Feldman does not get much playing time in between the pipes for the University of Washington Huskies.  In fact, he had only six career games under his belt before the weekend series opener against the Brigham Young University Cougars at Olympicview Arena and it would be just another game to fill in for Jeff Miles, who was a healthy scratch.

What no one expected, not even him, would be a result that he would accomplish…a result he had never experienced.

Feldman earned his first career shutout in his Husky hockey career as Washington shutout BYU, 5-0, on Friday night extending their win streak to four games, three in a row against non-conference opponents.  Feldman’s record improves to 3-0-0-0 on the season; in his career, he is 3-3-0-1 (wins, regulation losses, ties, overtime/shootout losses).

"It’s pretty exciting because shutouts are hard to come by in this league," said Feldman, who stopped all 27 shots he faced in the win.  "It feels good.  It’s a nice feeling and to get in my final year here…wasn’t sure if it would ever happen.  So glad we had it.  It was a great team effort tonight."

It would only take 14:37 of the opening period to secure the game-winner.  After a roughing minor handed out to BYU’s Ashton Shimbashi, Tyler Jennings scored past Cougars goaltender Scott Mehr to give the Huskies the 1-0.  J.D. White and Graham Gustafson earned the assists.  It would be Jennings’ first career game-winning helper.

After Alex Black extended the Husky lead to 2-0 just 1:46 into the second period, Jennings would add another goal midway through the second period unassisted at 12:34 for a 3-0 lead.  But on the ensuing faceoff, Christian Cinderella got the puck immediately from White at the red line and beat out Mehr for a 4-0 lead, forcing Cougars head coach Ed Gantt to call a timeout.  The Huskies saw signs of a weary BYU team, who came into town from Spokane just 24 hours after beating the University of Idaho Vandals on Thursday night.

Mehr, however, was spectacular through the majority of the first and third periods.  He was able to stop shots from point blank range and even diving for the pucks, just close enough where the Huskies would have had easy tap-ins to the net.

Mason Friedman would add another insurance goal for Washington in an undisciplined third period for BYU, who committed all of the five penalties in the period including a 10-minute misconduct given to McKay Karlson, who had some choice words to one of the on-ice officials.

The Huskies would go on the power play late in the game.  But with 1:19 remaining in the game and the Cougars looking to take the shutout away from the Husky, a BYU rush attempt by Aleks Stroud after the puck bounced off the stick of Huskies center Christian Cinderella raced towards the net with Husky defenseman Simon Machalek chasing him down to break up the short-handed attempt.  Instead, Stroud used his wrist shot between the circles but the puck would end up going wide left and ending up colliding with Feldman.

"He (Stroud) came back towards me on a breakaway short-handed," said Feldman.  "He shot wide of the net.  He slid into my right leg, and it didn’t feel too good.  But we were able to have the doc (team doctor Dave Siebert) check it out on the ice there and I wasn’t going to come out of the game with a minute and some change left."

BYU 3, Washington 1 (Saturday)

It was a much different story on Saturday night for the Huskies.  It only took 69 seconds for Tavin Jackson to get Washington on the scoreboard first for the early 1-0 lead, which carried over well past the midway point of the hockey game.

But two goals in the second period got things going for the Cougars.  Wade Smallwood would tie the game unassisted at the 12:59 mark, but Stroud’s goal with 44 seconds remaining in the period was enough to be the game-winner as the Cougars split the weekend series with the Huskies and took two out of three games on the road to include the win at Spokane over Idaho on Thursday.  Nixon Barber would add an insurance goal in the third period.

Jeff Miles got the start for the Huskies stopping 17 of 20 shots while dropping his record to 4-5-1-0.

Husky Hockey Notes... Saturday night was the Huskies final home game of the 2015 calendar year.  They will not be back to Olympicview Arena until January 8th, 2016 when the club hosts the UCLA Bruins for a Pac-8 Conference weekend series.  It will be their final conference series on home ice this season.

-  Washington will have the next six games on the road – four non-conference – within the next four weeks to close out the calendar year.  The Huskies head down to the San Francisco Bay Area this weekend with a visit to Pac-8 foe, University of California at Berkeley, for two games on Friday and Saturday nights (9:15 pm, 9 pm, respectively) at the Oakland Ice Center.

-  A week before the BYU series, the American Collegiate Hockey Association released their first Division 2 rankings of the month and the Huskies were listed at 18th in the West Region.  The University of Utah Utes were holding the #2 ranking, the highest Pac-8 team in the rankings.  Both schools were the lone Pac-8 clubs in the top 20.

-  Friday night’s game was only Jackson’s third scoreless game of the season.  His goal on Saturday gave him 11 on the season and boosted his point total to 21.

-  Feldman sat out Saturday night’s game but was behind the bench helping out head coach Matt Cleeton and assistant coach Amanda Hardwick.

-  Defenseman Troy Gasser stayed home from Friday night’s game due to being under the weather.  He was back in action on Saturday and earned an assist off of Jackson’s goal in the first period.