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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona hockey travels to No. 1 Ohio

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Kyle Wasson / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Fresh off a successful weekend in Illinois, No. 17 Wildcat hockey travels to top-ranked Ohio for a game on Friday at 4:30 p.m. and Saturday also at 4:30 p.m. The series can be watched on fasthockey.com.

“That’s going to be a huge mountain to climb,” assistant coach Dave Dougall said. “Every year they’re a top five program, top one, two, three really.”

Last weekend Arizona swept then-No. 11 Illinois, 3-2 (game score not SO score, SO was 2-0), a shoot-out win and 3-1.

“I think we’re, I don’t want to say we’re hot since it’s only two games, but we’re confident in our skills right now,” team captain Brian Slugocki said. “Not a lot of people thought we were going to win those two games and I think guys have a lot of confidence.”

Ohio is coming off of a sweep of then-No. 4 Oklahoma 3-2, and 5-4 last week at home.

“The thing about Ohio is that they are always well-coached, they always work really hard and are super physical,” head coach Sean Hogan said.

The Bobcats have had the opposite schedule of the Wildcats, who have played only road games this year. Ohio has played only home games except for one against West Virginia in South Charleston, W.Va., which is closer to the Bobcats’ home than the Mountaineers’.

Ohio enjoys a home ice advantage at the Bird Arena on campus.

“They play in a great old building on campus at Ohio U,” Hogan said. “The funny thing is, we are going from the biggest surface in the league at Illinois, to the smallest campus in the league.”

The Bobcats are deep, with 11 players who have scored at least two goals. Ohio garnered 40 first place votes, compared to 10 for No. 2 ASU.

“We don’t make it easy on ourselves,” Hogan said. “We want to be challenged, we want to play the top teams, and this is definitely that opportunity for us.”

Freshman forward Mike Harris and senior forward Ty Pilmore lead OU with 14 points and 13 points respectively. Junior Fedor Dushkin (5-0-0) has 2.36 goals against average.

“They’re much better than last year,” Hogan said. “They brought in some really talented players.”

Arizona beat then-No. 6 Ohio 3-1 last year in Tucson in their only meeting.

“It was probably the biggest win of my short time here,” Hogan said.

The game in Tucson was part of an unsuccessful trip to Arizona for the Bobcats.

“We were able to steal one from them and then they went up to ASU and lost two, so they probably don’t have too fond of memories from the state of Arizona,” Dougall said.

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