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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Cats take on Lindenwood in nationals

    Four wins in four days.

    That’s what separates the No. 10 Arizona men’s club hockey team from its first national championship since 1985.

    The No. 10-seeded Icecats (21-11) face No. 6 Lindenwood (24-12-2), seeded No. 7, at noon today in the first round of American College Hockey Association Championship tournament in Westchester, Pa.

    The single-elimination tournament features the top 16 teams in the country as ranked by the ACHA. Arizona has played 18 games against six of the teams this season and compiled a 9-9 record, including weekend sweeps of No. 6 seed Weber State and No. 8 seed ASU.

    “”Well, I think our schedule speaks for itself,”” Arizona head coach Leo Golembiewski said. “”We proved we’re at that level with our record this season.””

    Arizona loaded up on talent, bringing in nine freshmen who play significant minutes for the squad, including leading goal scorer Robbie Nowinski, a forward and the team leader in points; forward Matt Conover and goaltender Nick Boddy, who has split time in the net this season with sophomore Luke Edwall.

    Only the four-year seniors on the team, forwards Cole Dunlop, Tim Wochok and Brian Pollock and defenseman Mike Pelletier, have played in the ACHA Championship before, but Golembiewski has plenty had of experience coaching in it.

    He earned his 556th victory in the team’s 15-3 win over NAU Saturday. Golembiewski has been to 10 Elite Eights and nine Final Fours in Arizona’s 21 appearances at the ACHA Championship.

    “”That’s not something that really matters,”” Golembiewski said about the lack of ACHA tournament experience on the team. “”These kids have played at this level before, in juniors. They’ve played in national tournaments.””

    With 21 previous teams to compare to this tournament-bound team, Golembiewski had a hard time making the comparison, but with the level of skill on the team, he said he feels confident in this year’s squad.

    “”The way the lines are put together now, we’ve got a good blend of speed, shooters, defense,”” he said. “”The kids are ready.””

    If Arizona wins today, they’ll face the winner of the contest between No. 2 seed Ohio and No. 15 seed Mercyhurst game Friday at either 1 or 4 p.m., depending on how the teams are re-seeded for the Final Four.

    To follow the Icecats throughout their tournament run, go to www.achahockey.org to listen to games live.

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