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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Icecats on the brink

    After a brief home stint last weekend, the No. 25 Arizona men’s club hockey team plays on the road for the fourth time in its young season when the Icecats take on Saint Louis tonight at 6 and tomorrow at 6:15 p.m.

    The Icecats (6-2-1) continue to battle inconsistency and a subpar power play.

    “”It seems like we’re having letdowns in the second games against teams,”” said assistant coach Dave Dougall. “”We need to be more mentally prepared to start out. It’s almost like we wait until we get behind to kick it into gear, but when you’re down 3-0, it’s hard to come back.””

    The Icecats finally got their power play on track against Colorado State last Friday night, but failed to keep it going in Saturday’s contest.

    “”We’re struggling to get shots off on net (on the power play),”” Dougall said. “”We need more of a sense of urgency. We’re taking too much time and playing with the puck too much.””

    A seemingly neverending road trip to start the season seems to have taken its toll on the team so far this year, said forward
    Robbie Nowinski.

    “”The road wears on you after a while,”” he said. “”It’s hard to play on the road for these long stretches.””

    The familiarity with SLU should help that issue a little bit. The teams met four times last year, with the Icecats winning three games by a combined score of 22-6, including two road victories.

    Nowinski said SLU has improved each time they’ve played them and expects Billikens to be even better this year.

    Earlier this year, SLU split two games against Robert Morris College, a team that beat the Icecats 5-1 at the American Collegiate Hockey Association Showcase Tournament in Ohio last month.

    In addition to overcoming the issues that come along with another road trip, the Icecats will be without their captain, forward Scott Marshall, and defender Austin Capobianco for this weekend’s games.

    Marshall suffered a concussion last weekend and will most likely miss two to three weeks. Capobianco remains inactive with a knee injury but should return to action next week.

    Icecats head coach Leo Golembiewski said that if the team can’t solve its consistency issues and start stringing together wins, it will struggle to reach its goal of 22-25 wins – enough, he thinks, to put the Icecats in the field of 16 teams for the ACHA Championship tournament in March.

    “”We need to win pretty much every game,”” Nowinski said. “”If we fall out of the ACHA top 25 (by losing this weekend), it will be really hard for us to get back in there.””

    Part of the team’s difficulties could be the downtime between games and practices. The Icecats couldn’t practice on a consistent basis earlier in the year due to ice time conflicts at Tucson’s only ice rink, at the Tucson Convention Center.

    “”The layoff between practices and games hurts,”” forward Matt Conover said. “”Not skating never helps.””

    Dougall said he anticipates the team to feel more urgency the rest of the season, as the early losses have left little room for error the rest of the way.

    “”Physically, we compete with any team in the country,”” Dougall said. “”We just need to dictate our style of play and not sit back and watch games unfold.””

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