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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona disappoints home crowd with flat weekend performance against UNLV

Nathanial Stenchever
An Arizona hockey player scates up the ice in a game agiant rival ASU on Feb. 24, 2023 in the Tucson Conversation Center. The Wildcat hockey team won 1-0.

The Arizona hockey team faced the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (12-3) in Tucson on Friday, Dec. 1, and Saturday, Dec. 2. The Wildcats returned home after falling 1-3 in its last four away games. The Wildcats entered this game as one of the best home teams in the Western Collegiate Hockey League, (5-1-1), however this wouldn’t prove to be an advantage against the Rebels.

The series opened with the Wildcats falling in a big defeat to the Rebels, however, they looked as if they could draw the series in the second matchup. Only to fall slightly short and find themselves in the bottom spot of the WCHL now at (5-3-1). 

Game 1: Friday, Dec. 1 at 1 p.m.

The opening period started quiet for both the Wildcats and the Rebels, the Wildcats netted six shots while the Rebels had nine. Despite the sluggish start, the Rebels netted two late goals to take an early advantage of 2-0 at the end of the period. The second period proved to be one of the worst periods of the season for the Wildcats. They would concede three total goals within the span of five minutes within the latter half of the second period. 

The third period would prove to be the Wildcats’ best push towards having some sort of positive ending. They saw Michael Pizzo net the first Arizona goal of the game around the 12th minute of the third period, both the first Arizona goal and his first goal of the season. Will Josephson would assist this goal further cementing him as a key contributor with five assists on the year for the Wildcats. The last hoorah wouldn’t last long however, just over a minute later, Arizona would concede the final goal for the Rebels in the first game. UNLV would end up stomping the Wildcats 6-1, with nine more shots on goal than Arizona.

Game 2: Saturday, Dec. 2 at 1 p.m.

The Wildcats entered the second matchup of the series down after facing a barrage of Rebels goals and shots. Arizona created its first lead of the series with an opening goal scored by Trystan Swiger, just nearly halfway through the period. This goal was the second from Swiger this season, the only game where he was able to find the net occurred in the first game of the season against ASU. This goal was assisted by Jesse Lowell, a player who comes into and out of every game proving himself to be the key to Arizona’s success. Lowell tallied seven assists on the year putting him farther ahead as the highest-scoring Wildcat this season. It only took a little time before the Rebels were able to answer the call and they netted their opening goal just five minutes after the Wildcats. Less than a minute after they scored, Arizona’s Tyler Shetland would score once more to increase the Arizona lead to two over UNLV’s one. This was Shetland’s 5th goal of the season, his first since Arizona’s second game against GCU at home. The Wildcats would end the period in high hopes as the scoreboard leaned in their favor.

The second period remained quiet for both sides, with limited offensives on either side of the puck. The only exception was the late goal scored by UNLV to tie the game. The third period turned for the worse as the Rebels would pile on two final goals pushing the game and the series into their favor. Despite the unwanted outcome, they showed moments of defense control and offensive consistency. 

Looking ahead

Before the winter holidays, the Wildcats will be hosting ASU in the Tucson Convention Center on Friday, Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m. This will be ASU’s first series since the Chicago Showcase back in mid-November. The Sun Devils come to Tucson (1-2) in the showcase, and (4-1) on the road, a record the Wildcats will be wanting to lower. Arizona will be entering the series with the worst record in the WCHL, something that they will look to improve before the winter break. They will also want to look to improve its (5-3) home record after the blemish against UNLV

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