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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Hockey looks to snap Pac-12 funk against ASU

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A victory over ASU would mean something different to each player on the Arizona hockey team, but only one thing to the squad as a whole: the end to a pair of ugly streaks.

The Wildcats have lost to the Sun Devils in 20 straight games and haven’t made the national tournament since 2004. A win this weekend would likely end both of those streaks.

“Some people on our team have never won against them,” said forward Andrew Murmes. “You’d think after (20) games you’d be able to get one win … It’s embarrassing, it sucks.”

If the No. 19 Wildcats want to beat the Sun Devils for the first time since 2009, they’ll have to beat the No. 3 team in the country on the road at Oceanside Ice Arena, something they’ve already failed at doing twice this season.

Murmes is one of the fortunate ones — he’s only had to endure 12 of the 20 losses during the streak. But for juniors like forward Jared Lowell, it’s been a long road.

“It feels like it’s been 60 games. … It’s just over and over again,” Lowell said.

Juniors on the team have been a part of every single heartbreaker during the streak, and Lowell said the losses are now becoming an endless nightmare.

“For us it’s just a broken record, just the same game over and over again,” he said.

The ending of the streak would also mean a renewed opportunity to go to the national tournament, another stretch the Wildcats aren’t too proud of.

A win would boost Arizona’s resume and give it a shot come selection time, but as the four games against ASU have shown this year, that’s a lot easier said than done.

“We understand that this is it,” forward Kyle Miranda said. “This is a huge moment for us. I think we are going to take them down, and that’s just how the whole team feels.”

Miranda, a freshman, is new to the rivalry. But thanks to a 3-2 shootout loss in October and a 7-2 drubbing the last time the schools met, he’s been quickly introduced to the intensity and significance of these games.

“Every shift you get the butterflies going, every shift you’re giving it your all,” Miranda said. “There’s definitely an extra added incentive to go harder. It’s just a great experience.”

And even with the lopsided nature between the two teams the past two and a half seasons, the passion of the rivalry hasn’t been lessened.

“I hate all of them. … These guys are our rivals,” Murmes said. “I’ve talked to a couple of them, they’re not bad kids. But when it’s on the ice, I don’t like them at all.”

However, memories of ASU games aren’t bad for everyone on the team. Seniors like defenseman Geordy Weed actually have the ability to tell their teammates about beating their in-state rivals.

“The one thing I tell them,” Weed said, “is that there’s no better feeling.”

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