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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Club hockey treks to Tempe with dim postseason hopes

    Only four series remain for the Arizona men’s club hockey team, and the stakes can’t get much higher.

    The No. 24 Arizona Icecats head north to take on rival ASU for a pair of games this weekend, and a sweep is a must in order for the Icecats to have a chance at the postseason.

    “”These are just two games of the next six that we feel are very important,”” said head coach Leo Golembiewski. “”Right now we’re 14-8-1. If we win the next six, then that will put us at 20, and you have a case for nationals if you can win 20 games.””

    Arizona should be familiar with the Sun Devils (8-13-2) as they have squared off four times before with the Icecats coming away with three, including both games played in Tempe on Oct. 4 and 5.

    “”They’ve played really competitive the past few weeks. After they got a beating handed to them, they passed one out of their own,”” said assistant coach Dave Dougall, citing the Sun

    Devils’ two-game series against No. 4 Oklahoma two weeks ago, and last weekend’s 14-4 two-game massacre of Weber State. “”They’re a young team with a lot of freshmen and sophomores so they’re kind of sporadic.””

    Arizona has also been sporadic at times this season, but part of it has been because of the plague of injuries the

    Icecats continue to suffer from. Captain Craig Irwin will miss the weekend’s action as he continues to recover from a groin injury as well as defender Phil Hotarek, whose groin injury was sustained last Saturday. Add that to the loss of defender Evan Marro, who will miss tonight’s game due to disqualification, and Arizona is left with only eight defenders.

    “”We’ve gotten used to (dealing with injuries) so it won’t bother us too much,”” said captain Scott Marshall. “”Obviously (the injured players) will be missed because it’s always tough to go
    against ASU.””

    One of the only constants this year for Arizona has been its goaltending. Last weekend Nick Boddy had another good outing as he stopped 93 of the 102 shots he faced in addition to Luke Edwall’s solid contributions. In the middle of the second period in last Friday’s game against No. 12 Oakland University (Michigan), Boddy was called for a 10-minute game misconduct and Edwall was forced into action. He made six saves during those 10 minutes and helped maintain the Icecats’ slim lead.

    “”We have all the confidence in the world in both of our goalies,”” Marshall said. “”(It was huge) for a cold goaltender to go in there and do what (Edwall) did. It’s good to know we have a goalie that can come in when we need him and make big saves like that.””

    It will be nice for Arizona to have that kind of goaltending this weekend as well because every time ASU and Arizona meet it is an intense game. But this weekend’s tilt could be extra interesting with Arizona looking to make a late postseason push, giving ASU a chance to play spoiler.

    “”It’ll be like every game I’ve been associated with against ASU,”” Dougall said. “”The records don’t mean anything. It’s always physical and it could get nasty.””

    Even though the Sun Devils aren’t as strong as they have been in the past, the Icecats won’t take them for granted.

    “”This is the last that Arizona will be in their building this year so I expect them to come out hard,”” Marshall said. “”As long as we win the physical battles and control the tempo, we should be able to control (the game).””

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