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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Three Arizona hockey athletes visiting hometown Illinois

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Amy Webb
Amy Webb / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Homecoming will be early for a few members of the Arizona hockey team.

Senior goalie David Herman, senior forward Jared Lowell and freshman defenseman Bryan Drazner will play in their home state when the Wildcats face No. 11 Illinois on Friday and Saturday. All three made the Wildcats’ 23-man travel roster for the trip.

“Herman is a senior from Illinois, been here a long time, through the trials and tribulations of Icecat hockey to what’s now Wildcat hockey,” head coach Sean Hogan said. “I know he’s excited, so is Jared Lowell.”

Herman is hoping to get some bragging rights at home. His dad helped broadcast Illini games in college after a career ending injury.

“I’m hoping to make the trip and see some action there, and hopefully get my team a victory,” Herman said.

This year Herman and Drazner have not played yet and Lowell has an assist. Last season, Herman played in 14 games, had a 5-7-1 record, a 3.90 goals against average and a 0.89 save percentage.

Lowell was fourth on the team in points with 27 and had eight goals and 19 assists.

Lowell has never played at the University of Illinois Ice Arena, but has seen a few games there and has played with some players on the fighting Illini.

“It’s going to be a nice environment for me to go back to, playing against a bunch of the guys that I played with growing up,” Lowell said. “Chad Himley and a couple other guys on their team I played high school hockey against and we used to always go at it.”

Hogan said that Illinois is one of the top five biggest states for hockey, and Herman, Drazner and Lowell said professional and youth hockey is big in the Land of Lincoln.

“In Chicago, there’s a rink every 15 minutes from each other,” Lowell said.

All three players are from the suburbs of Chicago. Drazner is from Buffalo Grove, Herman is from Highland Park and Lowell is from Northbrook.

Chicagoland is also Wildcat Country to an extent.

“Chicago has a lot of U of A graduates living there,” Herman said.

“I know of sports bars that are back there that any time a U of A game is on, it’s strictly UA people — and so there is a big networking crowd of alumni there that allow for connections when we graduate.”

If Arizona does well enough it might even make a return trip to Illinois this season since the national tournament will be at the the Edge Ice Arena in Bensenville, Ill.

Drazner’s debut

Drazner has missed all the Wildcats’ games this year due to mono, but Hogan expects him to play this weekend.

“He’s a difference maker right away,” Hogan said. “He’s one of the guys we brought in to make a difference, so we’re excited about him.”

Drazner said he got sick around Sept. 1 and feared missing the trip home at first.

“I was kind of nervous to start,” Drazner said. “But I just knew if I took the time off — missing ASU was very difficult — but I knew that if I took the right steps to get back, then everything would work out. It has so far, so it’s been pretty good.”

The Wildcats’ practice in Chandler, Ariz. on Oct. 10 was Drazner’s fourth skate. He started practicing two weeks ago and missed Arizona’s first four games.

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