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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Icecats leaders rise from ASU series

    With 94 points and seven total seasons of player experience lost to injury or sickness in last weekend’s ASU series, the Arizona Icecats needed someone to lead the way.

    Enter senior defenseman Zach Cherney and sophomore defenseman Geordy Weed.

    “”You’ve got two major leaders that … arose out of the two games, and that’s Geordy Weed and Zach Cherney,”” head coach Leo Golembiewski said. “”They will certainly warrant C’s on their jersey for the road trip and probably for the season.””

    Whether it was rallying the troops during a 0-6 slaughtering or calming the team after allowing three goals in the opening five minutes, Cherney and Weed took the reins for the Icecats team last weekend.

    “”They definitely took leadership in the locker room. That’s what we need when we’re down,”” said sophomore forward and game-two standout Scott Willson. “”Cherney and Geordy definitely stepped up big time for us tonight.””

    The Icecats lost both games, but at a time when youngsters needed someone to follow, the two defensemen stepped up. Their leadership did not stem from what they said, but rather how they performed. 

    “”Hockey players are visual players,”” Weed said. “”So if they see us doing something or we see them doing something, everyone’s going to follow.””

    In game two of the series, even from the stands it was easy to see Cherney and Weed flying around the ice for every loose puck. When things got physical, it was No. 15 and No. 8 in the face of an ASU player backing up their teammates.

    Cherney played Friday’s game with a high fever due to influenza, but was still crashing into the boards when the team needed energy and slowing down the tempo when the team needed to collect itself.

    The Icecats defense was constantly tested, as evidenced by ASU’s 67 to 26 shots on goal advantage. But the team’s two most valued defensemen answered the call.

    After an early three-goal barrage by ASU in the second game, the Icecats defense held them to three goals over the final 55 minutes. By following the intensity of Cherney and Weed, young defenders like Nick Stolz, Zack Waxenberg and Shane MacLachlan elevated

    their games.

    “”There were only a couple of guys in the locker room these last two games who have played for the Icecats,”” Cherney said. “”That’s our responsibility as returning players, whether you’re a sophomore or a senior, it doesn’t really matter. Lead by example.””

    The Icecat rookies not only needed guidance regarding how to play college hockey, but also how to handle an intense collegiate rivalry.

    “”We said, ‘We’ve been there before, we’ve played this before. We’re going to have to set the tone for the team and let them know what everyone should expect,'”” Weed said.

    The Icecats certainly didn’t expect to be swept, but the leadership Cherney and Weed showed may have been more valuable in the long run than the team’s wins or losses. While that leadership experience will be key when the team is at full strength, Cherney doesn’t want the “”C”” on his jersey to limit leadership to a select few.

    “”While I am honored that I have the respect of the coaches, players and my peers, it is just a letter,”” Cherney said. “”You don’t need a ‘C’ on your chest to lead.””

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