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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Murmes emerges for Arizona hockey

Colin+Prenger+%2F+Arizona+Daily+Wildcat%0A%0AThe+UA+hockey+team+played+ASU+in+Tempe+Friday%2C+Sept.+30%2C+at+Oceanside+Arena.+The+Wildcats+were+defeated+by+the+Sun+Devils+6-3.+%0A
Colin Prenger
Colin Prenger / Arizona Daily Wildcat The UA hockey team played ASU in Tempe Friday, Sept. 30, at Oceanside Arena. The Wildcats were defeated by the Sun Devils 6-3.

When captain and top returning scorer Brian Slugocki suffered an injury in the first period of the first game of the season, the No. 22 Arizona hockey team needed someone to step up and carry the scoring burden.

So far, that player has been sophomore forward Andrew Murmes.
“He has been a star standout for us at this point of the season,” associate coach Dave Dougall said. “We are going to depend upon him for point production out there.”

Slugocki missed the majority of the first two games this year against then No. 9 ASU, yet he was still not at full strength during the showcase where the Wildcats played three more top-25 opponents. Murmes stepped up in Springfield, Ill., and while the team’s record is only 1-3-1, it has played competitively in every game against the tough opposition.

And Murmes’ ability to get the puck in the net, either through his passing or shooting, has been a main factor.

Through the first five games, Murmes has earned a team-high 11 points, tying him for 10th overall in points with five other people in the ACHA. Among the other five is assistant captain and linemate Brady Lefferts with a team-high of four goals, including a crucial game-tying goal against ASU with just 6:03 left in regulation.

“Andrew makes everyone else’s job easier,” sophomore Michael Basist said. Basist, Murmes’ best friend, recruited Murmes from Boston to the UA. “He plays the game the right way. He stays within the system that (head) coach (Sean) Hogan has presented to us, but he does a phenomenal job of reacting within the system.

“If I have the puck behind the net … I know he is going to be in the correct spot in the center of the ice to receive a pass. And that just makes every other player’s job so much easier.”

And while Murmes has been stellar so far this season, he credits his line of Lefferts and senior Blake Richards for his individual success.

“We all work together as one,” Murmes said. “There is no selfishness or anything. We work for each other and we work hard.”

The three players have accounted for 20 of the Wildcat’s 35 points this season, and have produced a goal in all five games.

However, the success of Murmes does not come as a shock; last season he was third in overall points for the team, and this summer he dedicated himself to improving and getting even better.

“I was in the weight room almost five days out of the week, probably six, over the summer,” Murmes said. “My parents own a gym, so I was able to just work out. I was on the ice maybe four, five times a week as well with my buddies back home.”

Basist agrees that his offseason workouts were responsible for his early season success.

“He showed up to Arizona ready to play, and that is a huge part to such a quick start to the season.”

Yet Murmes doesn’t pride himself on scoring; he would much rather make a perfect pass, and his team-high 7 assists are a testament to that.

“When guys try to double-team you or triple-team and you just make a really pretty play to a linemate who finishes, it’s great,” Murmes said. “Even when I score a goal, I go right up to the guy who gave me the pass because it’s not an individual effort.”

For Basist, his true value comes from being a playmaker.

“(Murmes is) filling a role on this team where he needs to be a goal scorer, but as a whole he creates,” Basist said. “Obviously he can score, but he has great vision. He has great on-ice vision.”

“I’d say he moves the puck almost as if he’s the quarterback of the team.”

Both Basist and Murmes compared his game to that of Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings. Datsyuk’s great vision and ability to score compliments his solid defensive play, allowing him to contribute on both sides of the puck, something Murmes hopes to do in every game.

“I want to score, and, you know, I definitely help the team with scoring, but it doesn’t matter who scores, it’s all “And if I got five blocked shots and I’m working hard and I still don’t get a goal, I’m still happy as long as we get the ‘W.’”

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