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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Icecats end season in 12th place

    Icecats season recap

    After two years off the national stage, the Arizona men’s club hockey team announced they were back, finishing with a 21-12 record and a 12th-place finish at the American Collegiate Hockey Association National Tournament.

    “”It was a great season, the young guys brought an infusion of talent that we needed to go along with the older guys we had here,”” said Arizona head coach Leo Golembiewski.

    This year’s group of freshmen was one of the most productive classes the Icecats have ever had, Golembiewski said. Freshman forward Robbie Nowinski led the team with 29 goals and fellow freshman forward Matt Conover was the points leader with 69.

    Other freshmen made their impact on the ice as well, as forward Tom Connell saw significant playing time on the first line this season alongside sophomore forward Scott Marshall and senior forward Cole Dunlop, a trio that was key in helping Arizona light the lamp 182 times.

    On the defensive side of the puck, the blend of new and old was just as important. Sophomore Luke Edwall split time with freshman Nick Boddy in the net this season after Edwall went down with an injury, providing a formidable one-two punch between the pipes that carried Arizona into the ACHA Championship.

    Arizona’s top defensive pairing of senior co-captain Mike Pelletier and freshman Zack Stommen anchored the Icecats’ defense all season, and Pelletier scored his 100th career point as an Icecat.

    With injuries to key defensemen like senior co-captain D.J. Pelletier and junior Anthony Capone later in the year, freshmen Evan Marro, J.P. Hansen and Kevin West responded when their numbers were called.

    “”Guys like Dave Cwik really stepped it up this year, (sophomore Max) Sliwinski had a great year,”” Golembiewski said. “”You can’t forget about guys like (senior Tim) Wochok, (senior Eric) Kowalek, and (senior Brian) Pollock that have been here and consistent. It was a total team this year that really played well together.””

    With the 18th 20-win season in franchise history, Arizona got back to playing the fast, exciting brand of hockey Icecats fans were used to seeing.

    “”We’ve always been a quick team,”” Golembiewski said. “”We lost a little bit of that the last few years, but we got that back this year.””

    The Tucson faithful responded to the return of the Icecat hockey they knew and loved. Crowds this year at the Tucson Convention Center were loud and large from the first weekend against ASU through the NAU series at the end of the regular season.

    “”These were some of the most consistent crowds we’ve had throughout the season in probably three or four years,”” Golembiewski said. “”We got compliments throughout the year on how exciting and fun to watch this team was, and how much people enjoyed coming out to see them.””

    When those fans came out to see Arizona this year, they saw some of the best the ACHA had to offer. The Icecats had the 10th toughest schedule in the ACHA this year, possibly one of the two or three toughest among independent teams.

    “”Our performance at the (ACHA) Showcase this season had teams ready for us,”” Golembiewski said. “”The word around the ACHA was that we were back and one of the fastest teams in the ACHA.””

    Despite losing all three captains after this season, Arizona will return next year with their top scorer, points leader, both goaltenders and a core of players ready to take another run at the ACHA Championship.

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