Freshman goalie gets first start, Cougs overcome Vandals in final game

WSU receives help from unexpected places in weekend matchups against Idaho



WSU club hockey seniors at senior night April 1, 2023 at Palouse Ice Rink.

GABE KAIJA, Evergreen reporter

It’s a wrap! The Cougars clashed against University of Idaho once again after splitting this series 1-1 just two weeks ago. The series, colloquially named the “Battle of the Border,” continued on Friday and Saturday to wrap up the 2022–23 season for both the Cougs and Vandals.

In this weekend’s first match-up Friday, WSU hockey lost 3-2 to the Vandals, marking the second time Idaho has taken the first game from them in a series. On a lighter note, the game was the first opportunity for goalie Cole Eastman to start in the net for the Cougars.

Eastman, a freshman at WSU studying Biomedical Engineering, held Idaho to just two goals in three periods, but it would not be enough to overcome Idaho’s lead. In his limited playing time this season, Eastman had 69 saves in just over 70 minutes of play.

Saturday’s ensuing game was much more gripping thanks to a fight that led to both players being ejected, a higher-scoring finish and a WSU 9-6 victory. Across the four games played against each other, WSU and Idaho both walk away with a 2-2 record.

It was a full team effort for the Cougars, as they got help from guys they normally do not see score. Shawn Wiranata, a goalie turned defenseman, scored a long goal which became his first ever as a Cougar.

Along with being a more interesting game on the ice, the impact and emotion behind it were even bigger. Saturday was the last game of the season, meaning all eight veteran seniors would not be stepping foot on the ice again for WSU.

“After the game, it was really joyful, the seniors all got together in one big group and were super collective about it. They all wanted to be there,” team manager Miriam Riggs said. “The entire team even went back on the ice and got one giant group photo together.”

The Cougs now get to celebrate this win and season until the next season starts in September.