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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Icecats stay alive in postseason hunt

    The dream is still alive.

    The No. 23 Arizona club hockey team left Tucson needing a sweep over Weber State in Ogden, Utah to keep its slim postseason hopes alive – and they got it.

    The Icecats defeated the WSU Wildcats 3-1 in a hotly contested game Friday, then blew the doors open Saturday with a 9-2 victory, reaching the 20-win plateau for the 19th time in team history.

    “”We had a mediocre team during the first semester,”” said UA head coach Leo Golembiewski. “”I knew we needed to win nine of our last 10 games to have a good shot of reaching the postseason. The team has come together and we’ve won six straight games, which may be too late, perhaps.””

    Golembiewski said that 20 wins should qualify Arizona for the postseason, but doesn’t know if his team can jump up seven notches to the 16th spot when the new rankings come out on Friday.

    “”I’m proud of the team after the lack of intensity during the first semester,”” he said.

    Friday’s game was a tightly contested game which broke open with 8:21 gone from the second period. A fight, ignited by a five-minute major penalty to Weber State’s Cole Libby for grabbing a facemask, led to punches being thrown by Libby and Arizona’s Jake Allison. Both were ejected from the game and disqualified from Saturday’s game.

    Robbie Nowinski made Weber State pay by scoring power-play goals 25 seconds apart, both goals assisted by Matt Conover.

    “”(Nowinski is) a true goal-scorer,”” said senior defender Max Sliwinski. “”What he’s done is unbelievable; he’s averaging over a goal per game. And other teams look to stop him from scoring which is a testament to his skill to keep on scoring.””

    Co-captain Craig Irwin added an insurance goal in the third and goaltender Nick Boddy had 24 saves in the win.

    “”Boddy has had a great season,”” Golembiewski said. “”He’s done a whale of a job in net.””

    It has seemingly become an Icecat trademark to have a much higher scoring second game of a series, and this weekend was no different.

    After a Jordan Schupan goal in the first, Weber State quickly answered with two goals in 1:18 against backup goalie Luke Edwall, who was replaced after the second goal.

    The Icecats then reeled off eight unanswered goals. Senior Evan Marro, ordinarily a defenseman who was forced to play left-wing due to the disqualification of Allison, scored twice, sandwiched around a goal from Sliwinski.

    Matt Conover scored 12 seconds after Marro’s second goal and Nowinski scored two more goals to bring his team-high total to 36. Schupan and co-captain Scott Marshall each added goals in the third to complete the scoring.

    “”(Nowinski and Conover) have carried us offensively all season,”” Golembiewski said. “”They have been the catalysts.””

    Sliwinski said that the reason the defenders are playing so well is because they are all comfortable playing with each other.

    “”(Winning) starts from the back,”” he said. “”We are a mature defensive corps with no freshmen and we always stay composed. We just try to protect Boddy, and make the job easier for the offense.””

    As far as making the postseason, Sliwinski said it’s out of their hands, but the Icecats will have one last chance to make the jump in two weekends when they host Texas Tech.

    “”We’ve done all we can,”” Sliwinski said. “”There’s not much more we can do. Winning nine of 10 is pretty damn good, and 20-8 in a pretty good record. We beat who was on the schedule and we can’t control Weber State and ASU having poor seasons. I’m not crossing my fingers or anything, but we’ve done all we can.””

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