Defensive Battle Goes the Way of Visiting Jacksonville
SALT LAKE CITY—A low-scoring defensive battle at Crimson Field went the way of the visiting Jacksonville Dolphins, who came out with an 8-3 victory over Utah in the Utes' home opener Saturday.
The defensive effort yielded the second-lowest scoring output by a Utah opponent this season, but the three goals scored marked a season low for the Utes.
"I thought we had a great week of practice, so I didn't sense it there, but we definitely didn't handle pressure really well," said head coach Brian Holman. "I thought we got manhandled there a little bit. I was really proud of our defense, though. I thought defensively our athleticism shows up. That's something I knew before the year started that most of our older, more veteran, guys are on the defensive side of the ball."
The outlook was optimistic early when Utah scored the game's first goal in the first five minutes of action. Peter Hagan scored on the assist from Jack Barron at the 10:40 mark of the first quarter to put the Utes ahead 1-0.
The game was still a 1-0 affair after one quarter before Jacksonville erupted for five goals in the second quarter to take a 5-1 halftime lead, and extended the advantage to 6-1 at the 13:40 mark of the third period before Utah stopped the run. Tyler Bradbury found the back of the net for an unassisted goal just 29 seconds later, and after a seventh Jacksonville the Utes came back with a goal from Jordan Hyde, assisted by Bradbury, at 4:52 of the third.
With the Utes trailing 7-3 entering the fourth period it was time for a rally, but Utah was unable to muster another goal and Jacksonville added another score with 6:20 to play to seal the 8-3 win.
"We played a ton of defense," Homan added. "Our clearing game, we're ranked No. 3 in the country clearing, and we must have turned the ball over five or six times on clears today. And they don't ride very hard, so I wasn't sure where that was coming from. No excuses, we didn't handle their pressure well.
- Tyler Bradbury's goal and assist today increased his team-leading total points to 19 for the season. He leads in both goals (8) and assists (11).
- With one goal today, Jordan Hyde now has seven on the season, second-most on the team.
- Zion Dechesere played the final 28:40 in goal and allowed just two scores, making 4 saves.
- Jacksonville outshot Utah 40-16 and held the advantage in ground balls, scooping up 33 to Utah's 18.
- The Dolphins also took advantage of a 21-11 disparity in turnovers.
Utah will play at home for the second week in a row on Saturday, March 13, welcoming Westminster to Crimson Field. The game is set for 1 p.m. and will be livestreamed via the Pac-12 Network.