On Saturday, the Utah State University hockey team hosted its annual Teddy Bear Toss against the University of Utah where the Aggies fell 2-0.
In order to help children in hospitals, fans were invited to donate teddy bears by throwing them onto the ice after the first goal scored by the Aggies.
USU’s head coach, Jon Eccles, helped start the tradition six to seven years ago. It’s not an original idea, but Eccles said it helps children around the valley to have a teddy bear. Eccles said they also give the bears to police officers who can give them to children if they feel the need to.
The only time fans had a chance to throw the bears onto the ice during the game, though, USU’s goal was called off by the referees.
In truth, the referees called off the point because the goal had come off its supports after a scramble on Utah’s side.
Saturday’s game was the fourth meeting between the Utes (12-7-0) and Aggies (13-8-1) and the second this month. The Utes had won all three games prior, outscoring the Aggies 13-7. The last meeting was in Salt Lake City on Dec. 3 where Utah won 5-3.
For Utah State, the game was a story of a few defensive breakdowns. For most of the match, the Aggies controlled the game and the puck, forcing their will on the Utes.
The only thing the Aggies failed to do was score. Despite creating good chances and outshooting the Utes, Utah State could not find a way to beat Utah goalkeeper Chris Komma.
“The bounces just didn’t go our way,” Eccles said. “Nothing lucky happened for us tonight.”
On the other side, Utah’s first goal came on a Utah State defensive slip where the Utes got an open shot right in front of the goal and easily slotted it past USU goalkeeper Austin Willenborg.
The second chance came less than a minute after the officials called off Utah State’s goal. On a fast break a shot from Utah off a USU defender and into the back of the net.
Though the Aggies lost, Eccles was content with how his team performed.
“I was very proud of the boys the way we played,” Eccles said. “They didn’t’ let up, they just kept attacking and going for it. It just shows how competitive we are.”
Utah State won’t play again until the new year when they take on BYU in Provo on Jan. 7.