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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Hockey snaps winless skid with pair of games in Colorado

Hockey+snaps+winless+skid+with+pair+of+games+in+Colorado

It wasn’t easy, but the No. 21 Arizona hockey team finally returned to its winning ways, beating ACHA Division II Colorado State 6-1 Saturday on the road just a night after tying Colorado, another Division II opponent, 4-4 in overtime.

“When you get into a streak like we were facing with those losses, you definitely start getting worried when (a win) is going to happen, or if it’s going to happen,” defender Jonathan Watanabe said. “So getting that win, especially before (No. 4 ASU next weekend), was huge. That was just a weight off our shoulders.”

The Wildcats came into the weekend riding a seven-game losing streak, and after tying Colorado on Friday, the Wildcats had just one win in their last 10 games.

Most of their defeats were close losses against top-15 opponents, but their inability to beat a lower-division Colorado team for the second time was a bad sign for the struggling Wildcats.

Arizona took 63 shots in the game on Friday, but it still needed a late goal by forward Andrew Murmes in the third period to tie the game up and avoid another crushing defeat to a team that, on paper, should have been an easy victory.

“We came in just wanting to stomp them, and the fact that we couldn’t get anything going and couldn’t produce was definitely a struggle,” forward Kyle Miranda said. “I think the guys really, really wanted a big victory … but we just couldn’t get it done.”

But even with the comeback, the Wildcats’ winless streak was still intact after both teams failed to score in overtime.

The streak appeared destined to continue on Saturday after Arizona fell behind on an early goal by Colorado State, a team the Wildcats beat 7-3 at home earlier in the year.

But after Arizona took a 2-1 advantage into the third period, the floodgates opened for the Wildcats. Miranda, a freshman, scored his first career goal to put Arizona up 3-1, and then the Wildcats netted three more goals for an emphatic 6-1 victory.

It was a great feeling to finally build up a comfortable lead, forward Brian Slugocki said. For the first time in awhile the team was able to take a deep breath and relax.

With just two games left in the season and the team officially out of the national tournament, the Wildcats desperately needed a victory to build some confidence before they take on an ASU team that the Wildcats haven’t beaten in 22 straight games.

“It was a great feeling for me, for the other seniors that only have a couple games left, and for the entire team,” Watanabe said. “Just having that feeling and being able to relax and regain confidence in ourselves and our team again was pretty crucial.”

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