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UGF falls to UM in game one of Copper Cup - KXLH.com | Helena, Montana

UGF falls to UM in game one of Copper Cup

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Had the Argos played the entire game the way they played the second half, the team may have had a chance to win its first Copper Cup victory.

As it was, a brutal second quarter separated UGF from MCLA DI University of Montana, as the Griz won the opening game of the third annual Copper Cup, 18-6.

After a 7-0 second quarter run for U of M made the half time score 13-2, the Argos switched goalies and defensive strategy and combination worked. In the final two quarters, the score still favored the Griz, but only be a 5-4 margin.

“I think our guys made a decision that they were just tired of losing every ground ball. We also switched our defense up and went with a zone,” UGF head coach Fred Boekel said. “Our goalie was also seeing the ball really well. It was a factor of all those things. I think the second half was a lot more enjoyable.”

The goalie switch put freshman Jeremy Smith (31) into the net and the youngster responded. Smith finished the half with 10 saves and allowed just five goals. He efforts helped UGF stop Montana’s momentum coming out of the half, including four straight saves to start the third quarter.

“Sal is our starter and if he’s on fire then we go with him but if he’s not we’ll make that change and give Jeremy that opportunity,” Boekel said. “Jeremy is doing a good job. He’s seeing the ball well. He stands tall in the goal and is starting to make a good step at the ball.”

With the defense settling down, the Argo attack began to move the ball better in the second half while taking advantage of the Extra Man Opportunities created by Griz penalties. UGF scored three of its four second half goals on the EMO with all four goals coming from different players.

One of those four players was the other Smith on the roster, junior attackman Josh Smith (28). Smith scored the team’s only two goals of the first half before burying a crank shot in the fourth quarter off of an Albert Williams skip pass to give the junior a hat trick.

“Josh is just that beast guy. He’s got that big body size and when he runs with the ball he’s hard to stop,” Boekel said.  “He has a great shot. We’d kind of like to see him change the plane every now and then but when you can whip it from 12 yards out its pretty tough for goalies.”

The game gives the University of Montana a 1-0 lead in the Copper Cup, a three team round robin tournament between UGF, U of M, and Montana State University.

The Griz have one each of the previous two tournaments and will play MSU on Saturday, March 27 at 7 p.m. before UGF and MSU faceoff on Sunday, March 28 at 1 p.m. Both games will be played in Memorial Stadium at Great Falls High School.

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