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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Icecats seek to keep momentum on home ice

    UA forward Jake Allison takes the puck down the ice during the Icecats 5-0 win Saturday over Long Beach State in Tucson Convention Center. The team will stay put in Tucson for the second straight week to play Division II national champs Michigan State.
    UA forward Jake Allison takes the puck down the ice during the Icecats’ 5-0 win Saturday over Long Beach State in Tucson Convention Center. The team will stay put in Tucson for the second straight week to play Division II national champs Michigan State.

    After a thorough thrashing of Long Beach State last weekend, a much bigger challenge presents itself as an athletic and skilled Michigan State team visits the Tucson Convention Center tonight and tomorrow.

    The Arizona men’s club hockey team’s task grew even larger earlier this week, when head coach Leo Golembiewski realized how many players are unable to play.

    Forward Keith Patterson was injured and may have broken a bone in his foot against LBSU on Friday. Forwards T.J. Daya and Micah Kneeshaw will both miss time due to knee injuries.

    Captain Scott Marshall will also be missing from the starting lineup today and possibly tomorrow as he continues to recover from a concussion sustained against Colorado State three weeks ago, and it’s unknown when any of the players can return to the ice. Forward Bret Lusis will miss also Friday’s game due to his disqualification in the Saturday contest against Long Beach.

    “”We’re kind of used to playing shorthanded,”” said forward Robbie Nowinski. “”We had a lot (of injuries) last year and a bunch of injuries the year before that, too. It will be hard to replace all of them, but I think we should be able to overcome it.””

    With so many players missing from the team, Golembiewski is forced to shuffle his lineups once again. The first line will remain what is has been since Marshall’s injury but the rest will be a mishmash of players.

    “”I’m not really sure what we’re going to do,”” Golembiewski said Wednesday. “”But I’ve got two practices to figure it out.””

    In addition to the plague of injuries, the Spartans (8-8) will be far more skilled than the 49er team the Icecats (8-4-1)
    dominated 12-0.

    MSU is last year’s American Collegiate Hockey Association Division-II national champions, and although it’s having a down year this year, it still poses a considerable threat.

    “”(MSU is a) really good team. Obviously they’ll have lot of skill being last year’s D-2 champs,”” Nowinski said. “”(With me) being from Michigan, I know they’re going to have lot of skill as a team. They’re going to be able to score a lot, so we’re going to have to play good defense. And I’m sure they’ll be fast, too.””

    Golembiewski said the Icecats need to polish their game if they want to sweep MSU. The offense has to execute well, can’t make mistakes at the point, and has to shoot the puck in deep and circulate it around to get some quality shots, he said.

    “”Pinching in at the blue line in the offensive zone has always been an Achilles heel for any offensive team,”” Golembiewski said.

    The defense also needs to sharpen up its play. Sloppy passes out of the Arizona defensive zone and transition defense are key areas on concern for the Icecats if they hope to contain the explosive Spartan offense, a team averaging 5.5 goals per game.

    “”The bottom line is everything has to be executed correctly,”” Golembiewski said. “”We need to skate the whole 200 feet of the rink to stay with MSU. We have to make them work to get good opportunities.””

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