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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

From scorer to leader

Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat

UA victory over Colorado Hockey at Tucson Convention Center in Tucson Sat, Nov 13.
Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat UA victory over Colorado Hockey at Tucson Convention Center in Tucson Sat, Nov 13.

In comparison to last season at this point, the Icecats are a completely different team. Eleven games into this season, Arizona is 7-4 when last year it was 3-8. However, one thing that hasn’t changed is Brian Slugocki finding the net.

The sophomore co-captain leads the No. 23 Icecats with 13 goals. He also has seven assists to total 20 points. As a freshman, he scored 27 goals and had 23 assists in 29 games. His 50 points became the new Icecat rookie record.

“”It’s a much better team. We’re a lot more focused on winning and the team is a lot closer-knit than it was last year I feel like,”” Slugocki said about this year’s team. “”When a team wants to win, it’s a lot easier to come together.””

Slugocki was deemed academically ineligible before the season started because of a miscommunication dealing with course credits. But after an appeal, he was cleared to hit the ice and allowed coach Leo Golembiewski to let out a slight sigh of relief.

Golembiewski said his mentality is a big help to the team aside from his talent.

“”He had a great freshman year and a good attitude. This year Slugocki’s similar attitude is a gigantic plus to what we are trying to do with this team,”” Golembiewski said. “”The attitude of the whole club is similar to the way he was last year and is this year, too.””

Slugocki said it’s important for him to keep himself up even after a rough patch in a game.

“”I try not to get too down on myself if I have a bad shift or a bad shot,”” Slugocki said. “”I try to always think that I’m going to definitely have more chances. I’m always keeping positive and can always make up for bad shifts (in) the next shift by playing well.””

Youth is another one of Slugocki’s strengths. Slugocki, only 19, is in his second year with the team, while most other clubs have 21-year-old freshmen that transferred from prep schools.

“”Slugocki brought freshness and youth to the team last year and rose above the bologna,”” Golembiewski said. “”He’s a great kid. He plays the game with youthful vigor. He has that youthful exuberance.””

Golembiewski hopes Slugocki continues to find the net even more the rest of the season. He said that now, he’s expected to score goals.

“”If (Slugocki) finds the net even more than he has in the first 11 games, it will help us a great deal,”” Golembiewski said. “”We need him to score, and he wants to score.””

The Scottsdale native has played hockey since he was two years old and has a quick sense of when and where to shoot, but he feels that he’s been struggling in one area lately.

“”Recently I’ve been trying to work on getting the shot off quicker,”” Slugocki said. “”I’ve been hitting way too many pads recently which is a problem.””

When he does shoot the puck, it goes back to the basics.

“”I just shoot as hard as I can, keep the knees bent and follow through to make sure it goes where I want it to go,”” he said.

Slugocki’s list of goals for the next 18 games all tie in to where the team wants to go. He wants to make it to nationals, beat Arizona State University and not lose any more games. The Icecats are currently riding a five-game win streak.

“”I want to help the team out as much as I can,”” he said. “”What’s comforting to me is we haven’t been playing our best game and we still have been getting these wins.

“”We’ve been playing very well of course but there’s still a lot of little mistakes and if we can figure those out then honestly there’s not many teams that I feel like are going to be able to compete with us.””

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