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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Icecats split with CSU

The No.11 Arizona men’s club hockey team (13-9) struggled through a sloppy game Saturday in splitting its weekend series with Colorado State (11-2-2).

In what needed to be a tune-up weekend for the Icecats before three grueling weekends on the road, Arizona instead struggled to get it out of first gear in both games, losing Saturday 2-1 after Friday’s 5-3 victory.

“”You can’t underestimate an opponent, and we underestimated them all weekend,”” Icecats head coach Leo Golembiewski said after Saturday’s loss.

The game was scoreless Saturday after 29 minutes of hockey in which the Icecats looked uninspired and sloppy on both ends of the ice. CSU forward Chris Howe struck first on a power play while Tim Wochok cooled his heels in the penalty box for a tripping penalty.

“”We should’ve gotten the job done in the first period, come out and set the tone, and we didn’t,”” freshman goaltender Nick Boddy said Saturday night.

Arizona was without its top defensive player Saturday as co-captain Mike Pelletier sat out after receiving 13 stitches in his left ear – the result of a blow from the butt end of Colorado State junior forward Jared Hillier’s stick in the second period Friday.

“”We have the game on tape, and you can see it was deliberate,”” Pelletier, a senior defenseman, said Saturday. “”The guy came right in with his butt end out, right for my ear.””

Arizona’s defense suffered other key losses in the second period of Friday’s game, losing junior defenseman Anthony Capone and freshman defenseman Zack Stommen to misconduct penalties for retaliating to the shot on Pelletier earlier in the period.

Freshmen forwards J.P. Hansen and Tom Connell dropped back to play defense along with freshman defenseman Evan Marro for the rest of the game.

“”Marro really come out of nowhere and played great tonight (Saturday),”” Golembiewski said. “”All the guys who filled in back there did, J.P. and Tommy had to play back for us, and they stepped it up.””

Sophomore defenseman Max Sliwinski scored the lone goal for the Icecats Saturday, firing a slap shot from the blue line past CSU junior goaltender Jeff Ronkoske on a two-man advantage to tie the game, 1-1.

The Rams took the lead back three minutes into the third period when junior forward Nick Buffington put a rebound off sophomore center Tim Stiller’s shot past Boddy.

“”Boddy’s goaltending was outstanding again (Saturday),”” Golembiewski said. “”I’m disappointed with (Saturday)’s result.””

The only thing pretty about Friday night’s win was the scoreboard at the end of the game.

“”It was ugly,”” Golembiewski said. “”Probably the ugliest game we’ve played all season.””

Senior forward Tim Wochok scored first Friday while short-sided eight minutes into the game. The first period was sloppy with Arizona having trouble keeping the puck in the offensive zone.

“”That’s been the biggest weakness of this team all season – transition – whether it’s heading back, back-checking on defense or advancing into the zone,”” Golembiewski said.

Junior forward Dave Cwik made the highlight of the weekend, stealing the puck at center ice 28 seconds into the third period and scoring on a breakaway. Sophomore forward Craig Irwin, freshman forward Matt Conover and senior forward Brian Pollock also added goals for the Icecats.

After a disappointing series, Golembiewski said the team needs to be ready for three intense weekends on the road as it travels to No. 5 Weber State, No. 9 Arizona State and No. 15 Oklahoma.

“”The next six games determine how our season goes – whether or not we go to nationals.”” Golembiewski said.

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