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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Tables have turned in Arizona-ASU hockey rivalry

Colin Prenger
Colin Prenger / Arizona Daily Wildcat The UA hockey team played ASU in Tempe Friday, Sept. 30, 2011, at Oceanside Arena. The Wildcats were defeated by the Sun Devils 6-3.

After the UA’s 12-year, 64 game winning streak,the Sun Devils have turned the tables and now the Wildcats haven’t won in 24 games.

The Wildcats will try to put a stop to that streak this weekend when they take on ASU on Friday and Saturday at Oceanside Arena in Tempe, Ariz.

“It’s always a huge rivalry between the two schools and it’s kind of flip-flopped in the past few years,” said assistant coach Dave Dougall. “We’re looking to claw back into it.”

Dougall, UA captain and forward Brian Slugocki and Arizona head coach Sean Hogan said ASU’s rise was in large part due to recruiting. The Sun Devils are ranked No. 4, are a national championship favorite and will play Penn State, an NCAA Division I opponent, this year.

“They now put a different type of player on the ice than they used to,” said Dougall, who played for the UA and was a captain when it won the national championship in 1985.

The Wildcats’ losing streak against the Sun Devils’ started while Jeremy Goltz coached ASU from 2008 to 2010.

Goltz, who won national coach of the year in 2010, led ASU to only its sixth appearance in the national tournament at the time and its second win there.

“[Goltz] was a part of that whole transition for sure,” Hogan said. “He worked really hard to bring that program up a level too.”

After Goltz left, current head coach Greg Powers turned the Sun Devils into a national competitor. Those accomplishments made Powers into a finalist for the American Collegiate Hockey Association Coach of the Year award last season.

ASU has played in the national tournament seven times, 1996, 1997, 2004, 2007 and 2010 to 2012. They originally qualified in 2008, but were ruled ineligible for using a community college student and were replaced by the UA.

The UA has been to the national tournament 21 times, but only once since 2003 in 2006.

ASU also didn’t beat Arizona until 1996. During that time, ASU hockey was a Division II team. Now the hockey program has teams at all three ACHA levels.

“They went from basically being non existent to a national championship contender under [Powers in] the last three or four years,” Hogan said.

The changing of the guard was gradual. During the 2003-04 season ASU won the season series for the first time, and during the 2009-10 season ASU swept the season series.

Arizona’s last win against its rival was a 2009 shoot-out win at home. Last year, however, five of the eight losses were by two goals or less, one a shoot out loss.

“It sucks. It’s just frustrating because we’ve been so close in those games,” Slugocki said. “It’s been one little odd bounce here and there. That’s kind of what costs us and we want to end that this weekend, but they’re a good team and it is going to take everything we got to beat them.”

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