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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Icecats split home-opening series

    Arizona defender Zack Stommen fights for the puck with Colorado State defender Jordan Stover Saturday at Tucson Convention Center. The Icecats split their home-opening series with the Rams.
    Arizona defender Zack Stommen fights for the puck with Colorado State defender Jordan Stover Saturday at Tucson Convention Center. The Icecats split their home-opening series with the Rams.

    With chants of “”he shoots, he scores, hey goalie, you suck!”” resonating throughout the Tucson Convention Center, the No. 25 Arizona club hockey team knew it was finally home.

    Despite the crowd’s boost after opening the season on a seven-game road trip, the Icecats (6-2-1) split their home opening-weekend against Colorado State (4-4), which did not excite head coach Leo Golembiewski.

    “”We’re not happy with a split,”” he said. “”We’re not satisfied. We have to win a majority of those 10 games if we want to make the championships.””

    Special teams play made up the difference in both games for the Icecats.

    In Friday’s game, a 6-3 Arizona victory, the Icecats went 2-for-3 on the power play and killed off all six Ram penalties, including a 5-on-3 with seven minutes to go in the third period of a one-goal game.

    “”Our penalty kill is a trademark of our team,”” Golembiewski said. “”They stepped up huge tonight. Our goaltending was not good enough, so we were glad we could kill the penalties.””

    Forward Robbie Nowinski led the way by recording a hat trick, including the game-winning goal 11:22 into the third period.

    “”It was really a team effort,”” Nowinski said. “”Everyone played tough. I just want to win. If I happen to get the game-winning goal, that’s fine, as long as we win.””

    Said Golembiewski: “”It was a great performance out of Robbie. He’s been marvelous all year.””

    Every time the Rams scored a goal, the Icecats bounced back with a goal of their own.

    “”One of the things you try to teach is resiliency,”” Golembiewski said. “”You’ve got to be able to face adversity and pick yourself up. We’ve shown that resiliency all year long.””

    The Icecats dropped Saturday’s game, 6-3, after falling behind 3-0 in the first period, being out shot 19-7 in the frame.

    “”We came out flat in the first,”” Golembiewski said. “”We had a lot of opportunities (later on in the game), but we didn’t bury the puck.””

    While special teams keyed Friday’s victory, it was the demise of the Icecats in Saturday’s loss. The team missed out on all 10 opportunities with the man advantage, continuing a trend entering the weekend after the club connected on just two power-play goals in its first seven games.

    “”We were just missing,”” Golembiewski said. “”You have those nights. They’re gonna go in or they’re not gonna go in. That’s the game.””

    The game was much more physical than the previous night, as the two teams combined for 33 penalties, a majority on roughing calls. That negated a two-goal performance from forward Matt Conover.

    “”Hockey’s a physical sport,”” Golembiewski said. “”Our guys had stitches, cuts, concussions. That’s the way the game is. Colorado State is a big, physical team.””

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