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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Icecats host defending ACHA champs and current No. 1 club

Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Icecats were blanked by the University of Colorado Buffaloes 0-4 Friday night at the Tucson Convention Center.

Saturday night was a different story as the Cats held on for 2-1 victory over Colorado.
Mike Christy
Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat The Icecats were blanked by the University of Colorado Buffaloes 0-4 Friday night at the Tucson Convention Center. Saturday night was a different story as the ‘Cats held on for 2-1 victory over Colorado.

The Arizona Icecats will face their biggest test of the season this Friday and Saturday when they take on the American Collegiate Hockey Association’s No. 1 team and defending champions Lindenwood University in a two-game series at the Tucson Convention Center.

“”Lindenwood is going to be a massive undertaking for us,”” said associate head coach Dave Dougall. “”The size is going to be there, the speed and just the precision of their passing game. We’re going to be fighting for our lives out there.””

Due to the difficulty in scheduling, the Icecats have spent the majority of the season hosting middle-of-the-road Division I and II club teams from bordering states. 

Lindenwood (26-2)—Saint Charles, Missouri—fits neither of those molds.

The Hockey Association national powerhouse won a school-record 42 games last season, including a streak of 20 in a row on their way to the program’s first ever national championship.

This year has been much of the same for the Lindenwood Lions, as they opened up the season with 24 consecutive victories before dropping two games to No. 2 Ohio University. They have outscored their opponents 175-51 through 28 games and are 15-0 on the road.

But the Icecats have won seven of their last nine games and have the confidence to give the nation’s best club a run for their money.

“”I think we can skate with any team,”” said sophomore forward Brady Lefferts. “”We’ve just got to go out there from the start and just play our game the whole way through.””

With that self-confidence also comes an eagerness to take on the nation’s cream of the crop.

“”It’s going to be something new,”” added sophomore defenseman Geordy Weed. “”I don’t think we’ve faced anybody else like Lindenwood yet in this league, but again, I’m always looking for a challenge and everybody else is always looking for that challenge.””

Weed is right. The Icecats haven’t faced a team anywhere near the caliber of Lindenwood, but head coach Leo Golembiewski’s club has a history of coming on in the second semester, especially in recent years.

If the Icecats can steal even one game from the Lions, their season of ups and downs will finally have some balance, and they will be remembered on a national scale for knocking off the nation’s most dominant team.

But none of that is possible if the Icecats don’t come out of the gates with energy, intensity, and the confidence to compete for a full 60 minutes.

“”Basically if we start rockin’ and sockin’ right away, it lets them know, ‘Don’t judge us by our record, we’re ready to play, you better be ready as well,’ “” Weed said.

“”There shouldn’t be a lot of problem with the guys wanting to be ready to go,”” Golembiwski added. “”It’s got to be in their heart, their soul and their gut. That’s how you beat a team of that caliber.””

All season long the Icecats’ coaching staff and players have stressed that, when right, this team can skate with anybody in the nation. Now is their chance to prove it.

Which Icecats team will show up: The team that was embarrassed at home against Arizona State 7-1 four games ago, or the team that surged to five consecutive wins in mid-November and early-December?

The Icecats expect the latter.

“”I think we’re capable of anything,”” Weed said.

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