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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Hockey takes lumps, collects first victory

The No. 22 Arizona hockey team earned its first win this season, beating No. 21 Michigan-Dearborn 6-1 Friday in the opening game at the ACHA Division I Showcase in Springfield, Ill. Yet, the winning streak didn’t last long, as the Wildcats dropped their next two games, losing 5-1 to No. 11 Oakland University Saturday and 5-3 to No. 17 Stony Brook Sunday.

“It was very liberating,” captain Brian Slugocki said about the team getting its first win Friday. “It was good to see that the team did come together and pull a win against a top-ranked team, and we did it in big fashion, winning six to one.

“We got a lot more work that we need to do.”

Forward Andrew Murmes carried the scoring load for the Wildcats (1-3-1) in the victory, netting five points through four assists and a goal. The rest of Murmes’ line also performed well, as forward Blake Richards scored two and assistant captain Brady Lefferts had one goal and two assists on the night. Slugocki and forward Michael Ferreira also put the puck in the net, rounding out the scoring for the UA.

The team led the entire way, scoring just 53 seconds into the game with a goal by Murmes. Goalkeeper David Herman’s shutout bid was ended after the Wolves scored a late goal with a little over two minutes left and the game well out of hand.

“We came out playing,” head coach Sean Hogan said. “I think honestly we’re just a better team than they (Michigan-Dearborn) are right now. ”

The game on Saturday was not quite as easy for the Wildcats as they faced Hogan’s old school, No. 11 Oakland University. However, the UA hung with Grizzlies and tied the game at the 10:27 mark in the second period with a short-handed goal by Murmes. After that, things went downhill for the Wildcats.

“We had a few mistakes that those good teams capitalize on, and it blew the game open,” Hogan said.

Oakland took the lead with 6:45 left in the second period and then put the game out of reach early in the third, scoring three goals before the 10-minute mark, making it 5-1.

In the final game of the showcase, the UA played Stony Brook in what was a back-and-forth affair. The teams traded off goals until Edwin Montgomery put the Sea Wolves up 4-2 in the middle of the third period. Lefferts got the Wildcats within one on power play goal with 4:12 left on the clock, but they were never able to score an equalizer. The Sea Wolves then ended the game with a late empty net goal.

“We were right on top of their goalie,” Hogan said, “we just couldn’t find the back of the net.”

That loss gives the Wildcats a 1-3-1 record on the season, yet all five games have been against top-ranked opponents.

Slugocki, the teams’ leading scorer last season, came into the showcase with a rib injury that forced him to miss most of the first two games against No. 7 ASU, but he said that the injury didn’t affect him much. Overall, the weekend was successful for the team even if the scores don’t indicate it, Hogan said.

“We knew it would be tough having immediate success,” Hogan said. “But I think playing this level of competition, playing the ranked opponents, and competing like we did, I think it’s going to bring more national recognition to our program and I think it’s going to bode well for our upcoming weeks.”

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