Logan, UT (U-WIRE) -- This weekend was supposed to be all about Utah State's hockey club goalie Chris Webber's return to San Jose.
Saturday's game between the USU hockey club and San Jose State will mean much more than the Aggie goalie's sentimental reunion with his former team.
USU will put its No. 3 regional ranking on the line when it faces the No. 4 SJSU Spartans Saturday.
"[Webber] is looking forward to going home, but this isn't vacation, this is business," Aggie Robert Hashimoto said. "We've got to beat them."
An Aggie win over the Spartans would bolster USU's No. 3 ranking, but a loss would make for a tight race over the last part of the season with SJSU and BYU, who beat and tied SJSU in San Jose last weekend.
"I think it's the deciding factor of whether we go to nationals or not," Aggie Nick Haase said. "I feel as if we lose a game that it will drop us a rank or two."
The Aggies will first play Cal-Berkeley Friday, a team USU beat 7-1 at home on Oct. 30.
Webber said the team is happy it gets a weaker opponent to play when it first arrives in California because it is very difficult to be fresh for a game after sitting on a bus all night.
USU will also have to play without a few players. Haase will not play due to a hurt knee that he said he will get an MRI on this week. Hashimoto said he is also doubtful that he will play because of a separated shoulder he suffered in last Saturday's game against the Weber State D-II team.
Goalie Scotty Beard broke his wrist in practice Tuesday night in a collision with Nate Pierce. And Webber said Brandon Lang is not feeling too good after taking an Aaron Burrell slapshot to his ankle.
"I think we're deep enough as a team that we can pull it out and win," Haase said. "But [the injuries] are not going to help us."
Webber said he will still enjoy his trip back home.
"I'm always excited to go back home," he said. "I've still got some friends on the team. But I'm excited and pumped up for this game too."
Webber played for SJSU in the 2002-03 season. He grew up in San Jose.
"The team has really changed since I was there," he said. "They have a lot of new freshman. I actually helped coach two or three of them when they were younger."
Webber said he is trying not to let his personal feelings get in the way of the game, but it will be hard to ignore his old friends
"I try not to look at them in a different light," he said.
(C) 2004 The Utah Statesman via U-WIRE