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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona hockey 2023-2024 season recap

Nathanial Stenchever
The Arizona hockey team celebrates after a game agiant rival ASU on Feb. 24, 2023 in the Tucson Conversation Center. The Wildcat hockey team won 1-0.

The Arizona Wildcats hockey team entered the 2023-2024 season after securing 16 wins and 13 losses the season prior. The Wildcats faced a slate of games they had been familiar with, members in the Western Conference Hockey League, and some out-of-division opponents they would face for the first time.

The Wildcats started hot early on with a 4-1 record and a four-game win streak. They seemed electric on the ice with nothing to stop them. Then they were stopped by a University of Nevada, Las Vegas team that took both games away from the Wildcats. This would start a worrying trend in which Arizona would not be able to win on away ice.

Despite a hot start, the Wildcats would sizzle out over the remainder of their 2023 slate, with a record of 8-9 to enter 2024.

This would repeat as the Wildcats entered this year with a series of losses away at Maryville University and GCU. However, they swept their home stand against the University of Oregon and San Diego State University. They would then travel to Missouri to face Maryville and Missouri State University, where they would win their most away games in a series with two out of three possible victories. They would end the season traveling back to Tucson and getting a series sweep against rivals ASU.

Arizona would then travel back to Missouri to face the University of Pittsburgh in the opening round of the ACHA National Tournament, where they would suffer a 5-2 loss to end the season.

Best game of the season: 7-0 win at home over Oregon

After falling 2-7 in its last nine games, Arizona had its first home game of the new year back in Tucson. They would face an Oregon team who went 6-3 in its last nine games prior to the meeting.

This game encompassed both the past and future for the Wildcats, with performances from players who have been Wildcats for their entire collegiate careers, to rookies just starting out.

With 5 goals from three different rookies, and then goals from Tyler Shetland and Sam Myers, this game proved the depth of talent available for the future. Especially with the performance of Jack Kurrle, who was scoring and assisting in just his third game for the Wildcats.

This performance showed the peak potential of the Wildcats’ depth for the foreseeable future.

Key players:

There’s no surprise as to the Wildcats who dominated on the ice this season. Jesse Lowell and Shetland were by far the most consistent players, with them both averaging 1.04 points per game. This means they were responsible for either a goal or an assist in every single game they played in.

Lowell’s best performance came when he had a stretch where he recorded 2 points in each of the final four games of the season. He would put up a goal and assist in the first matchup, then would go three straight games with two assists. Shetland’s best performance came in the third game of the season in the second matchup in Arizona’s series against the University of Utah. Shetland put up an impressive 3 goals and two assists performance in Arizona’s 7-1 victory over the Utes.

Best current rookies headed into next season:

Arizona would bring in nine rookies to play on the team, and many of them would be crucial in the Wildcats’ victories throughout the season. However, there were a select few who made a massive impact as soon as they stepped on the ice.

The two standout rookies this season were Trystan Swiger and Kurrle.

Swiger would play for the Wildcats in 24 out of 30 games, and in that span would put up 7 goals and 10 assists. This would put him fifth overall on the team for total points, as well as fifth for total goals. Swiger’s best performance came in the midseason series against ASU at home, where he put up a total of six points, 2 goals and four assists in the series. This span would show how impactful Swiger could be on both sides of the ice.

Kurrle would come to the Wildcats after winter break and would appear in all 12 possible games in the 2024 stretch of the season. His impact was immediately felt with him either scoring or assisting in five of his first six games. He would slowly fall back, but that stretch of time where he dominated will surely be something to look forward to as his career progresses.

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