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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    The last stand: Icecats fight to make ACHAs

    The last two chances for the No. 20 Arizona men’s club hockey team to keep its season alive starts tonight at No. 5 Oklahoma.

    The two-game set, which concludes tomorrow, will be the second meeting this season between the teams. Oklahoma swept Arizona in the team’s first meeting Nov. 10-11.

    “”(Oklahoma is) definitely underestimating us,”” said freshman defensemen Zach Cherney. “”We can beat them, we’re not scared of them.

    “”They’re not stronger than us. We played them well last time.””

    Even if the Icecats (13-11-1) are able to beat the Sooners (24-4) this weekend, they will still be at the mercy of the voters who will award bids for the ACHA National Tournament Sunday afternoon.

    Arizona will have only an outside shot even with a sweep of Oklahoma this weekend, as the team’s top 16 teams make the tournament.

    All 53 teams in the ACHA get one vote to decide the rankings for the official bids for the tournament.

    “”We don’t have to just beat them, we have to beat up on them if we want a chance,”” said sophomore defensemen Zach Stommen of the Sooners. “”It’s kind of demoralizing, but we’re all still trying.””

    To add injury to insult, center Craig Irwin has re-injured his surgically repaired shoulder, which will keep him out for thefinal six games.

    The junior will need surgery once again in the offseason.

    Matt Conover, who leads the Icecats in points with 47, will sit out a second straight weekend with a knee injury that could keep him out the rest of the season.

    “”We see our leading scorers out, and it’s a problem we’ve faced all year, injury after injury,”” Stommen said. “”But we’re working through it, we’re trying to pick up the intensity in practice and just build on it.””

    Arizona head coach Leo Golembiewski said Conover was scheduled for an MRI yesterday, which should give the team a better understanding of the damage to his knee.

    “”We still have a chance, you still got to play the games,”” said UA head coach Leo Golembiewski. “”But you can’t underscore the significance of (losing) your leading scorer and second-leading scorer.””

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