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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona hockey looks to capture first win of 2014

Tyler Baker/ Daily Wildcat UA freshman defender Wil Pointon helps UA senior goalie Steven Sisler defend the goal during the UA Wildcats vs. York University lions hockey game at the Tucson Convention Center Saturday.

After falling in a pair of exhibition games last weekend to York University of the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) league, Wildcat hockey returns to ACHA action against two familiar midwestern foes from earlier in the season.

Tonight No. 5 Oklahoma (16-3-3, 4-4-0 WCHL) will visit the Tucson Convention Center for one game, followed by a Friday and Saturday night series against No. 11 Central Oklahoma (18-6-3, 5-3-0). The three games will count toward No. 16 Arizona’s (10-14-0, 3-5) standing in its recently joined Western Collegiate Hockey League.

Currently the Wildcats are on a six-game skid, counting the games against York, and still looking for their first win of the new year. The last victory for Arizona was against Long Beach State of the ACHA Division II level on Nov. 16, 2013.

“Our mentality has to be to play competitive hockey every night and be supportive of each other on the ice,” UA head coach Sean Hogan said. “You [the players] have to stop blaming guys and look at yourself in the mirror sometimes and same with the coaches.”

The Sooners haven’t seen action since Dec. 7, 2013 when they beat the Bronchos 2-1 in overtime at home. In late October, 2013, Arizona bested a then-No. 3 Oklahoma squad in two games for a sweep against its highest ranked team since January 1996.

However, since falling in that series against the Wildcats, the Sooners have won their last 11 of 13 games, outscoring opponents 68-26.

Former NCAA Division I transfer from Penn State, Bryce Johnson leads the Sooners with 38 points while his goaltender Nick Holmes has posted a respectable .920 save percentage and a goals against average of 2.02.

Arizona was dominated 8-1 during its one-game visit to Central Oklahoma on Oct. 17, 2013. The Bronchos leading point scorer, Riley Spraggs, scored twice on the Wildcats that night.

Junior goalie Tory Caldwell, who enters this weekend with a .910 save percentage and 2.43 GAA was stellar in net that contest as well, saving 28 of 29 shots faced. UA junior forward Michael Ferreira was the only Wildcat to put one past Caldwell that game.

“We’re still just getting back into the groove of things because we all just basically got back from break,” senior forward Andrew Murmes said. “We’re getting our familiarity back; passing against each other, just having fun with one another on the ice. Obviously we’ve had success against Oklahoma before, but we’re also focused on beating Central Oklahoma too.”

The TCC is offering the Thirsty Thursday and Buy Two Tickets, Get One Free promotions tonight. Saturday’s game will feature this year’s first Season Ticket Holder Bring-A-Friend Night.

Puck drop will be at 7:30 p.m. for all three contests.

Follow Joey Putrelo @JoeyPutrelo

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