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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Icecats know postseason hopes slipping

    Icecats forward Jordan Schupan works his way around the Colorado State goalkeeper during a 6-3 loss to the Rams on Oct. 27 in Tucson Convention Center. Schupan and the rest of the team must stay ranked throughout the season to make the ACHA national championships in March.
    Icecats forward Jordan Schupan works his way around the Colorado State goalkeeper during a 6-3 loss to the Rams on Oct. 27 in Tucson Convention Center. Schupan and the rest of the team must stay ranked throughout the season to make the ACHA national championships in March.

    After last weekend’s disappointing performance versus Saint Louis, the No. 24 Arizona men’s club hockey team looks to rebound against a tough Long Beach State team.

    “”Long Beach is one of the most powerful teams in California. They’ve got a lot of speed and size,”” UA head coach Leo
    Golembiewski said.

    Arizona (6-4-1) needs to string together some victories to stay in the American Collegiate Hockey Association top-25 rankings after the sweep dealt the Billikens dealt them last week. Only ranked teams will make the postseason.

    Long Beach State (9-1-2) should prove to be a difficult test for
    the Icecats.

    Assistant captain Matt Conover estimates the team has to win 95 percent of its remaining 20 games to go to Rochester, N.Y., for the ACHA national championships in March.

    “”The whole team, from the forwards all the way down to the goalies, need to pick it up,”” Conover said. “”We’ve got to win these games. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t win if we execute, and we have to execute the rest of the season.””

    Golembiewski said the next eight games – all at home – should determine the Icecats’ postseason fate.

    “”I’m hoping our guys can get back on track psychologically,”” he said, also emphasizing they have to protect their home ice to have any chance of reaching nationals this year.

    Golembiewski pointed to inconsistencies in the net: While Arizona still holds a winning record, most wins have been in
    offensive shootouts.

    Goalie Nick Boddy has a goals-against-average of 4.19 with a save percentage of 88.2, numbers Golembiewski said must improve to give the Icecats a better shot to win games.

    “”No team on any level can go (far in the postseason) without
    consistent goaltending,”” he added.

    In an attempt to bolster a struggling aspect of the team, the Icecats will unveil a new power-play unit against the 49ers this weekend. Forward Robbie Nowinski will switch to defense when they have a man advantage, allowing forward Jordan Schupan to slide into his place – a move that puts four offensive-minded players on the ice as opposed to the usual three.

    The new power-play unit will feature more attacking from the top and middle of the offensive zone, rather than coming primarily from the sides and sideboard areas of the rink, Conover said.

    Another boost for Arizona comes in the form of defender Austin Capobianco, as he returns to action after a knee injury benched him for two weeks. But for every positive there seems to be a negative – in this case, three.

    Defensemen Evan Morro and Phil Hotarek will miss tonight’s game due to disqualifications they earned against SLU. Morro has 77 penalty minutes this season – very high for this early in the season, Golembiewski said – but that pales in comparison to Hotarek’s 99 penalty minutes.

    Golembiewski isn’t pleased with players’ lack of discipline, as the Icecats are now forced to go with a six-man rotation as opposed to the normal eight-man rotation.

    Nowinski said he’s noticed a change in the two players’ attitudes and hopes it translates to a calmer mentality on the ice.

    In another downer for the Icecats, captain Scott Marshall remains unable to play as he recovers from a concussion sustained against Colorado State two weeks ago. Marshall is likely to miss at least one more week and perhaps two.

    “”It’s never easy playing without two or three good players,”” Golembiewski said. “”But the bottom line is, we should have enough good players to win games without one or two of the better ones.

    “”Every player that’s dressing has to pick it up,”” he added. “”It’s a team game, and the whole team needs to gain some momentum – we’re past urgency right now.””

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