By SAMANTHA MIDDLESTEAD/Montana State News

The puck dropped at 10:30 p.m. last Saturday evening at the Haynes Pavilion if front of a crowd of 300 people who came out to cheer on their Montana State University hockey team.

The former Hellcats gained a 5-0 lead in the first period, but lost 8-6 after the remaining periods were bombarded with injuries and penalties.

“It’s all a part of the game,” said team captain Evan Johnson who has been a part of Bobcat hockey for nearly three years. “Hockey is an extreme contact sport, and things happen even when you are ahead.”

Of the 15 seasons the team has been playing, this is the first that they have been recognized as an organized club at MSU. This new formal admission has given these boys a new name and logo, but also additional rules that must be followed by all those who attend the games.

The recent recognition now means the games fall under MSU regulation, and fans must abide by the college’s guidelines when it comes to drinking because of the obvious liabilities that could result.

“The crowd support has really changed this year compared to others,” said Club President Will Thompson. “People used to bring entire kegs into the rink, but this year the new regulations have subdued even the rowdiest of fans.”

This, however, has not changed the loyalty of the fans.  “People still come out to cheer us on,” continued Johnson, “but it will take some time for them to get used to the changes.

The players themselves are not deterred by the recent changes.  “We’ll always come out and play the same as we always have. Hockey is entirely about the flow of the game, and having fun with your mates,” said player John De Spain.

The entire team is embracing the new rules and, “We just want to put on a good show for the students, and we’re happy everyone still drives out on their weekends to root us on,” said Thompson.

“Gotta love the school spirit,” continued Johnson, “and that’s all we can ever ask for.”

The last two home games of the semester will be this upcoming weekend in the Haynes Pavilion at the fairgrounds. Games start on Friday at 10:30pm and Saturday at 7 p.m. respectively.
Edited by Meghan O’Neal.

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