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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Icecats rip Runnin’ Rebels

Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat

After being limited to one day of practice last week, the Arizona Icecats took care of business against the University of Nevada, Las Vegas on Saturday, outplaying the Runnin’ Rebels from start to finish en route to a 6-3 victory.

“”This is a real nice victory, and I’m proud of all of the guys that dressed and the guys that played,”” said head coach Leo Golembiewski. “”Just a solid team effort.””

After being swept by UNLV in late-October, the Icecats (10-12) were ready to play this time around.

“”We knew last time that we could beat them,”” said senior Micah Kneeshaw. “”We knew we had enough talent, it just didn’t happen. We were ready for them tonight.””

The Icecats have been a tough team to beat when they play with intensity for the first few minutes of the game. They did exactly that Saturday, scoring two goals in the first five-and-a-half minutes. 

Freshman Jeff Back found the net 5:01 into the first period. The Icecats added another goal only 20 seconds later when Kneeshaw scored off of a feed from freshman Shane MacLachlan.

After two more first-period goals from freshman standout Brian Slugocki, the Icecats led 4-0 and never looked back. Slugocki finished the game with a hat trick and now has 25 goals in only 21 games.

“”He’s done a remarkable, remarkable job,”” Golembiewski said. “”He’s an energizer bunny. He turns on the speed; he can turn the corner and burn around people. A heck of a performance again by him.””

Slugocki has now scored at least one goal in nine of the last 10 games and is currently riding a six-game goal-scoring streak. For a player who barely played at the club level last season, Slugocki has emerged as the Icecats’ No. 1 goal-scorer and a constant threat on the ice.

“”It’s unbelievable. It’s awesome,”” Slugocki said of his success this season.

Slugocki cited a newfound confidence as the reason for his success this season.

“”The coaches, they trusted me that I was going to be able to play and I just flourished from there,”” he said. “”Last season, I didn’t have as much confidence as I should have in myself, but this season, I just go out there thinking I’m the best player on the ice and that’s what’s gong on right now.””

Once again, Slugocki was terrific, and the Icecats played one of their most complete games all season. The offense was clicking, freshman goaltender David Herman was almost flawless between the pipes, and it resulted in a much-needed win for the Icecats.

They will travel to Tempe this weekend to take on the No. 8 ASU Sun Devils. The Icecats have dropped the first four games to ASU this season and will need to play near-perfect hockey to take down the Sun Devils in their barn.

“”I think we just need to play a consistent game right off the bat,”” Slugocki said. “”Sometimes against ASU we play 30 minutes, if that. Hopefully we come out strong, have all of the guys fresh. It should be a good game.””

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