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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona hockey notes: UA ranked No. 19 in preseason poll

Kyle Wasson / Arizona Daily Wildcat UA hockey team practices at the TCC in late August 2012.

The Wildcat hockey team was ranked No. 19 in the preseason poll released Friday.

Arizona (2-0-0) will face eight teams ranked in the preseason poll, including six of the top ten teams.

“I was kind of hoping we’d be higher, but being 19 to start the season is not bad, better than what we were last year,” head coach Sean Hogan said.

The Wildcats finished last year ranked No. 25.

“I think it’s fairly reasonable,” senior forward Brian Slugocki said. “We finished right about this spot last year and I think it shows that we have a lot of room to improve.”

Arizona’s schedule includes eight games against No. 4 ASU, four each against No. 7 Minot State and No. 9 Liberty, three games with No. 6 Oklahoma and No. 13 Central Oklahoma and two against No. 5 Oakland, No. 13 Illinois and No. 3 Ohio.

The top 20 teams in the poll make the national tournament, but like the NCAA tournament, the conferences get automatic bids and some conference winners are not expected to be in the top 20.

Hogan said they’ll need to finish in the top 16.

Wildcats healthy for the most part

Sophomore forward Justin Gaudino suffered a concussion and two freshmen are out, but overall Hogan is happy with Arizona’s health.

“We’re pretty good,” Hogan said. “Gaudino’s out with a concussion, we got some bumps and bruises but I don’t expect anybody to be out besides Gaudino that would normally be in the lineup.”

Freshman defenseman Bryan Drazner, who has mononucleosis, will be out until the Illinois trip on Oct. 12, and freshman defenseman Nick Hinsberg is out until at least Thanksgiving because of hip surgery.

Watanabe goes pro

Former Arizona hockey player John Watanabe will leave Friday to try out for a minor league team.

Watanabe, who played last season for Arizona and is a current UA student, will try to make the Evansville IceMen of the East Coast Hockey League, the AA affiliate of the St. Louis Blues.

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