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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona hosts highly ranked OU in first ACHA home contest

The goal since the start of the season for the No. 20 Wildcats has been to return to the national tournament, and with a championship winner in No. 6 Ohio coming to town, the UA has an opportunity to make a statement in either direction.

“I wish we could say it’s just another game, but this is one of the top-ranked teams in the nation, and they definitely can compete for a national championship,” captain Brian Slugocki said.

Before the bye week for Thanksgiving, the Wildcats beat the No. 7 Oklahoma Sooners team on the road in Oklahoma City by a 4-1 score. However, the Wildcats lost handily 5-1 to those same Sooners the previous night.

“There was no chance (Oklahoma) was going to win that game on Saturday,” Slugocki said. “And if we play the same way this Thursday, I think we will come out with a ‘W.’”

This Jekyll and Hyde routine has been a consistent theme for the UA in games against elite teams in the ACHA.

In the first game of the season, the Wildcats lost 6-3 at No. 4 ASU. Yet the next night, they reversed their fortune and pushed the Sun Devils into shootouts before ultimately losing. The same story again was written against No. 5 Iowa State. The Wildcats first beat the Cyclones 3-2 in shootouts in Ames, Iowa, before losing the next game 4-2.

The Wildcats won’t have the luxury of trial and error tonight as they only get one shot against the Bobcats.

“They are always a top-10 team. Always,” head coach Sean Hogan said.

Ohio is very fast and physical, but also has a very high level of skill, Hogan said.

However, the Wildcats will finally have an advantage over a top-ranked team. Not only will this be their first game against an elite team at Tucson Convention Center, but it will also be their first home game against any ACHA Division I opponent.

But even with Ohio’s obvious talent and history, the Wildcats aren’t afraid of the challenge. However, they will need to be Dr. Jekyll this weekend if they have any hopes of winning.

“I have a lot of confidence in my team,” Slugocki said. “I don’t know if a lot of other people can see it, but I know that when we play our game there isn’t many teams that will beat us, or even have the chance to beat us.”

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