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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona hockey team drops fifth straight game

The No. 19 ranked Arizona hockey team’s losing streak grew to five games Thursday after a 5-4 defeat to Williston State College at the Agri Sports Complex in Williston, N.D.

“The teams are not beating us, we are beating ourselves. It’s just mental, we just have to bear down and focus,” forward Andrew Murmes said.

With a series against No. 10 Minot State starting tonight, facing a subpar opponent made it easy to look past Williston, especially with their hectic travel schedule. Their trip up north started with a 5 a.m. flight out of Mesa and ended with a two-hour bus ride to Williston, all before the puck was dropped.

“We’re not using (the travel) as an excuse, but I think that it contributed,” head coach Sean Hogan said.

However, Arizona didn’t show any signs of jet lag at the start of the game.

“We came out with a little bit of a jump,” said Murmes, “we just didn’t finish.”

Forward Blake Richards opened the game with an early goal, but the Wildcats eventually lost that momentum. Still the game looked to be headed into the second period tied 2-2, but a mental mistake resulted in a last second goal by Williston State and Arizona never recovered.

After a Tetons goal expanded the lead to 4-2 in the second period, the Wildcats were able to respond with a goal from defender Shane MacLachlan. But the team never made that all crucial final step to finally tie the game, and instead the Tetons were able to ride their lead to the finish. Forward Jared Lowell did get a goal in the last minute of the third period, but the goal was too little and too late, and the game ended 5-4.

“We shot ourselves in the foot tonight and we lost to a team that’s not very good at all,” Murmes said.

While Arizona is on a five-game losing streak, the losses haven’t been very decisive. Four of the five defeats on its recent swoon have been by only one goal, except this time the Wildcats didn’t lose to top-notch opponents like No. 3 Arizona State or No. 13 Davenport — they lost to Williston State, a member of the National Junior College Athletic Association.

The loss may sting for the Wildcats, but they are already focusing on Friday’s game against Minot State, Murmes said. However, Murmes might not be available as he injured his leg against Williston.

He did return to the ice after the collision though, and hopes to play through the pain, he said.

Still, this was a key opportunity for Arizona to start the weekend with some confidence and momentum, but they weren’t able to capitalize on chances or overcome the fatigue of traveling.

“It was definitely frustrating, and frustrating for the players as well,” Hogan said. “They know they can play much better. We missed two breakaways; we missed a couple point-blank opportunities. So it was frustrating in that we had opportunities.”

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