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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Hockey shows fight, loses to ASU

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Colin Prenger
Colin Prenger / Arizona Daily Wildcat #21 Andrew Murmes

After 17 straight losses to No 9 ASU, the No. 22 Arizona hockey team was just a shootout away from finally ending the streak. ­

However, fate was still not on their side, and once Colin Hekle converted the game-winning penalty shot for the Sun Devils, the UA left Tempe with yet another defeat at the hands of its rival.

The Wildcats, who lost 6-3 Friday night and 2-1 in penalties after a 2-2 tie in regulation Saturday, came away from the first weekend of the season with only a point to show in the standings, but the end results didn’t leave the team in dismay.

“It’s a tough way to lose, but, you know, I’m proud of these guys,” head coach Sean Hogan said after the loss on Saturday night. “We got exponentially better from game one to game two. You see the learning process; you see we are getting better.”

The Wildcats began Friday’s game with an early 2-1 lead from goals by assistant captain Brady Lefferts, but the Sun Devils tied the game with just 16 seconds left before the end of the first period. After a couple more ASU goals, Arizona was able to close the gap with a goal by sophomore defenseman Mike Basist, making it 4-3. However, the Sun Devils continued to put the puck in the net, finishing with a comfortable 6-3 victory.

“We just didn’t play well in our first game,” Hogan said. “We had first-game jitters and a couple turnovers lead to goals. We ended up losing a game that we didn’t play well in.”

It looked like ASU was picking up right where it left off Saturday, jumping out to an early 2-0 lead. However, the Wildcats cut the lead in half midway through the second period with a goal by freshman forward Michael Ferreira. Then, sophomore forward Andrew Murmes evened the game with just 6:03 left in regulation.

After killing off an early power play in overtime, the Wildcats sent the game into shootouts. Freshman defenseman Shane Gleason converted his shootout opportunity, but the Sun Devils were able to beat goalkeeper David Herman twice, giving ASU the victory.

“We made big strides this weekend from where we were last year,” Herman said. “We especially made huge strides from our first game to our second.

“I think we’ve shown we can compete with any team in the country this weekend.”

Herman had 62 saves Saturday, allowing the team to fight back after the early deficit and tie the game. He also had 39 saves Friday.

“Herman played unbelievable tonight,” Hogan said Saturday. “He did a great job for us.”

The UA’s performance Saturday was even more impressive considering star player and captain Brian Slugocki suffered a chest contusion early in the game Friday, missing the remainder of that game and the entire game Saturday.

After picking up losses number 17 and 18 this weekend, the Wildcats winless streak against their rival continues, spanning over two seasons. They are also now winless on the young season, but they did pick up a point on the road against a top-10 opponent.

“At the end of the day, we got an OT loss in the shootout which definitely hurts the heart,” Murmes said. “But I couldn’t be prouder of all the guys. Because when it came down to it, we stepped up, we tied it back, and that’s all you can ask for.”

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