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The Daily Wildcat

 

Hockey splits series with No. 1 Minot State

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Rebecca Sasnett 2013

Rebecca Sasnett / The Daily Wildcat

The UA hockey team split a weekend two game series against the No. 1 Minot State Beavers.

Accumulating only eight points last season left a bitter taste in UA hockey sophomore forward Brennen Parker’s mouth. He wanted more than just five goals and a trio of assists.

“I really struggled last year,” Parker said. “I just couldn’t find my way.”

So the superstitious Parker made an adjustment he said he believed would improve his play: he switched his jersey number from 13 to nine. Over the weekend, Parker had his greatest series since becoming a Wildcat, netting a pair of goals in both games of No. 13 Arizona’s (8-8-0, 3-3 WCHL) split with No. 1 Minot State (14-2-1).

Not even halfway through the 2013-14 campaign, he has set career highs in points, goals, power-play goals and assists.

“Oh, a lot [of credit for my success] goes to my number change,” Parker said. “I made it clear from the start when I came here this season that I was changing my number, so nine has been working for me and hopefully it will keep going.”

Parker drew the opening blood of Friday’s 3-2 victory over the Beavers with his first collegiate power-play goal. In the third period, the Wildcats trailed 2-1 until the Villa Park, Calif., native beat Minot senior goalie Wyatt Waselenchuk to tie the game.

That swung the momentum back to Arizona’s side and Parker’s line-mate Andrew Murmes potted the game-winner to hand Minot State its third straight loss. It was the first time the UA had defeated a top-ranked program since joining the American Collegiate Hockey Association in 1992.

“He was able bury it a couple times both games which builds his confidence,” Murmes said of Paker. “I just kept telling him, ‘Hey, find me, I’ll find you and good things will happen.’”

The Beavers jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on Saturday just several minutes into the first period. Parker sniped another power-play goal and shortly after put a second puck past Minot State junior goalie Riley Hengen to even the contest up again.

While Arizona fell 5-3 that night, Parker still made his presence felt against the defending ACHA national champions.

“Brennen played great; that’s the player we thought we were getting when we recruited him, was this level player,” said head coach Sean Hogan. “So hopefully this sparks him and keeps him going.”

After facing its third top-three opponent in six weeks, Arizona will lighten the competition by hosting ACHA Division II squad Long Beach State this weekend.

“The one thing that we cannot do as a hockey team is overlook anybody, and that’s for sure,” Hogan said.

—Follow Joey Putrelo @JoeyPutrelo

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