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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona hockey hits the road for long stretch of away games

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Kyle Wasson / Arizona Daily Wildcat The UA hockey team practices on Sept. 18, 2012.

The No. 19 Arizona hockey team (2-2-0) opens its season with more than a month of away games, and while they have a bye this week before traveling to No. 13 Illinois, the Wildcats will practice in Chandler, Ariz. and Illinois this week and next.

Sophomore goalie Robert Schultz said the four-hour round trips are tough because the best-laid plans to do homework on the trips don’t usually work out.

“You think ‘I’m going to get some studying done,’ but it doesn’t usually work like that,” Schultz said. “We got movies going on and everybody’s chirping each other, chit-chatting and stuff.”

The Wildcats will fly to Chicago and bus to Champaign, Ill., where the University of Illinois is located, but Hogan said they won’t make a pit stop to see the site where the national tournament takes place. Instead, Arizona will be practicing on Thursday in Illinois, coming off two weeks of intense practicies, on and off the ice, to stay sharp after tough losses at ASU.

“We do a lot of traveling, but it’s not an excuse [for losing],” head coach Sean Hogan said. “That’s not the reason why we didn’t do well against ASU.”

Goalie stalemate

After four games, the Wildcats’ goalie competition continues.
Schultz and junior Steven Sisler have split all the time in the goal, with Sisler owning 3.50 goals against average and Schultz tallying 6.50. Sisler has made 61 saves for a .90 save percentage and Schultz has made 77 saves for a save percentage of .86.

Hogan said the competition is close and all four goalies, including senior David Herman and freshman Dylan Hojnacki, who made the team through tryouts, will be considered.

“At some point, someone is going to need to step up and win a game,” Hogan said.

Schultz said the goalies are friends, and after Herman and Sisler mentored him last year, he is trying to help Hojnacki adjust to college life.

“Me and Sisler, we kind of have a mutual respect for each other,” Schultz said. “There’s no hate, or envy, or jealously or anything like that.”

He shoots, he scores

While they have only played four games, compared to some teams that have played eight, a couple Wildcats are high in the national stats rankings.

With five goals, senior forward Brian Slugocki is tied for 12th in scores, and tied for third among players who have only played four games. Junior forward and line mate Andrew Murmes is third in the country in assists, with nine. The first and second place players have played seven and six games.

“There’s a good chance that we can have a real solid line there,” Hogan said.

No copper

UA might get camouflage jerseys for Military Appreciation Night next year, but they won’t sport anything like copper helmets this year.

“We’re just going to focus on trying to win games right now,” Hogan said, laughing.

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