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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Hockey causes long weekend for Long Beach State

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Keenan Turner
Keenan Turner / The Daily Wildcat Andrew Murmes, a star forward on The Wildcats, rips a snapshot right past the goalie’s head at the game on Saturday. Murmes lead the team to an 8-3 victory, tallying 4 points himself.

Arizona hockey dominated Long Beach State over the weekend at the Tucson Convention Center, sweeping the ACHA Division II squad and outscoring it a total 17-3.

It was the first time the No. 12 Wildcats (10-8-0, 3-3 WCHL) had swept a two game series against an opponent since taking both contests at then-No. 3 Oklahoma on October 19 and 20. The UA had last matched up with and swept LBSU (5-9-1) on Nov. 9 and 10, 2007.

While Arizona blew out Long Beach State 9-0 Friday and 8-3 the next night, the first period of both contests ended in a one-goal difference. Saturday, the Wildcats even headed to the locker room after one period down 1-0 to the 49ers.

“We weren’t ready to play,” said UA head coach Sean Hogan about the first period Saturday. “The guys didn’t come out with any jump or any fire and they thought we were just going to win no matter what.”

Arizona woke up in the following 20 minutes of both games though, scoring five goals in the second period Friday and Saturday.

Wildcat forward Robert Wilkinson tallied his first career college hockey hat trick Saturday. The player from West Vancouver, British Columbia has nine goals this season to lead the freshman class and rank second on the team to senior forward and assistant captain Andrew Murmes.

“It felt pretty good because it’s been a few games where I haven’t had a point so it’s nice to get off the schneid,” Wilkinson said. “My teammates really helped out tonight so I can attribute my goals to them.”

Murmes had his way with Long Beach State all weekend, scoring twice in each contest. Now with 15 goals, he is on track to surpass his single season career high of 21 set back in the 2011-12 campaign.

Still leading the team in points as well, Murmes has earned at least one in eight straight games.

“Obviously, putting the puck in the net is nice, but it was nice to see a lot of the other guys scoring,” Murmes said. “It builds confidence going forward. These games are obviously a little bit tough to prepare for but what’s important is we got the ‘W,’ and learned for our mistakes. But guys are scoring and that’s what we need.”

Next week, Arizona will host its third top-10 team of the year when No. 9 Iowa State (16-3-1) for a two game series at the TCC. The Cyclones are coming off a home sweep this weekend over No. 2 Minot State.

“We’re going to work extremely hard in practice all week,” Hogan said. “We have to get in better shape; we looked like we were tired today. And if it’s going to be hot in this building, then we have to use that to our advantage. We have to grind them down and find a way to win.”

Friday is the annual NOVA Home Loans Teddy Bear Toss, where fans are encouraged to bring teddy bears to throw on the ice.

—Follow Joey Putrelo @JoeyPutrelo

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