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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Icecats earn series split in weekend battle vs. MSU

    The No. 25 Arizona men’s hockey team came into the weekend hoping to find out who it really was as a team, and it finally found out late in Saturday night’s game against Michigan State.

    After falling 4-1 in Friday night’s game, the Icecats (9-5-1) found themselves in a 3-0 hole with 39 seconds left in the second period, and every puck seemed to be sliding the Spartans’ way.

    Then Arizona won the ensuing face-off. Defender Evan Marro stormed down the ice, made a nifty juke and finally got the Wildcats on the score sheet. Arizona ultimately won 4-3 in overtime.

    During the intermission that followed the second period, players jawed with one another, questioning the team’s heart in a sense, said UA head coach Leo Golembiewski.

    But the team rallied together and took the ice in the third period like a different entity.

    “”Up to (the end of the second period) we didn’t have a hockey team here,”” Golembiewski said. “”I said we had a team, but not a hockey team, and I’m very proud of their response.””

    Forward Robbie Nowinski said whatever it was that happened in the locker room sparked a fire beneath the team.

    Arizona drew a penalty at the start of the third period, and after digging the puck out of the corner, forward Matt Conover found a sprawling Nowinski, who flipped the puck to the top shelf to make the score 3-2.

    “”I’m always getting thrown around out there, but I’ll still just try and help make plays,”” Nowinski said, referring to his acrobatic goal Friday night.

    With newfound life, the Icecats pounced on the opportunity to get back in the game.

    Just two minutes after Nowinski’s goal, forward Brett Lusis obliterated MSU defender Ryan Merz. Lusis lined Merz up and hammered him into the boards. Merz lay on the ice for just over a minute before two Spartans picked him up and slid him back to the bench. Merz returned to action soon after.

    “”Lusis was a monster out there tonight,”” said forward Scott Marshall, adding it helped amp up the team even more.

    The rest of the game was end-to-end action, with each club getting its share of goal-scoring chances. Goalie Nick Boddy kept Arizona alive, totaling 73 saves over the weekend.

    “”Boddy makes saves that other goalies can’t, and then he makes the second and third saves look easy,”” Nowinski said. “”We have two good goalies here – (Luke) Edwall is good when he gets in there. It’s always good to know you have a guy back there who can make acrobatic saves.””

    The game-tying goal came off another face-off. Forward Craig Irwin won the draw, and forward Zach Samson slapped it home from the right point with just under eight minutes to play.

    The rest of the third was physical, chippy and full of penalties, including a questionable unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on defender Austin Capobianco with 1:11 remaining.

    Forward Zach Samson nailed home the game-winner 1:28 into overtime after Nowinski found him on the right side.

    “”Sometimes, things just start happening for you,”” Samson said. “”We’ve been peppering (the MSU goalies) all weekend and sometimes, everything finally gets going for you. I guess it was fate.””

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