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The Daily Wildcat

Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

The first step toward .500

Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat

UofA vs WSU Hockey
Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat UofA vs WSU Hockey

If the Arizona Icecats hope to finish the season at a respectable 15-15, they will need to win five of their six remaining games, starting with a two-game sweep when they take on Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, this weekend.

The Icecats (10-14) haven’t finished with a losing record since the 2003-04 season and are on their way to becoming only the second team in program history to finish below .500.

“”We’ve only had one losing season in 30 years, but that’s not something I dwell on,”” said head coach Leo Golembiewski. “”I want to see our team get as healthy as it can as we finish out the last six games of the season.””

It has been an up-and-down year, full of freshman growing pains and non-stop injuries, but the Icecats can give the season a good feeling by rattling off five or six wins — starting with Weber State.

The Icecats will again be without junior co-captain Jordan Schupan (neck laceration), sophomore forward Blake Richards (ankle) and senior forward/defenseman Micah Kneeshaw (ribs).

In addition to the injuries, for the second consecutive week the team will enter a weekend series without any practice time under their belt due to the Gem and Mineral Show at their normal practice space, the Tucson Convention Center.

But the Icecats have dealt with these issues for the majority of the season, and if there’s a perfect way to gain some momentum heading into the final four games, it’s by playing Weber State. The Icecats swept them in early December, outscoring Weber State 19-5 in two games, including a 12-1 thrashing in game one.

Weber State was severely undermanned when they came to Tucson — only 11 players dressed — but this is a team the Icecats should take care of even on the road.

But whether or not the Icecats sweep doesn’t depend solely on their opponents. Rather, their success depends on which UA club hockey team shows up. Whether it’s been because of youth, injuries or lack of practice time, this season has been the model of inconsistency.

“”It’s been a wide range of reasons — nothing you can pinpoint,”” said associate coach Dave Dougall of the team’s up-and-down season. “”It’s frustrating because you’re not sure which button you should push, because we’re not seeing the same thing occur every game.””

The Icecats certainly have the talent, but factors outside of the team’s control have often resulted in a roller-coaster ride. They once again have their backs against the wall, but Weber State is a team that they have proven they can beat. Regardless of injuries and no practice time, if the team wants to avoid a losing season, a sweep in Utah is a must.

“”I personally have never finished on a team with a losing record and I don’t plan on doing it my first year,”” said freshman forward and leading goal-scorer Brian Slugocki. “”Nobody wants to have a losing season, because it reflects us as a team.””

 

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