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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

“Icecats sweep Colorado State, extend streak to three”

Ashlee Salamon / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Ashlee Salamon
Ashlee Salamon / Arizona Daily Wildcat

When freshman forward Brian Slugocki netted the game-winning, shootout goal in the team’s 4-3 victory against Colorado State on Saturday, it became clear that the 2009-10 Arizona Icecats (5-8) had officially arrived.

“”They believe they can win,”” said associate coach Dave Dougall. “”Before there was always doubt, but now there’s a lot of players taking responsibility and actually doing something about it on the ice.””

When Icecat fans began to file out of the Tucson Convention Center Saturday night as time was running out, Slugocki and company made a statement: “”Not so fast.””

The team went down 3-2 after CSU defenseman Brad Hau scored top shelf against freshman goalkeeper Dave Herman with 2:30 left on the clock. Head coach Leo Golembiewski pulled Herman and the Icecats went into desperation mode.

After nearly two minutes of scrambling, Slugocki found himself open in front of the net and snuck in the game-tying goal with 37 seconds left in regulation.

“”I barely got a five hole on him, I almost missed,”” Slugocki said. “”I went back hand, but luckily the ref saw it and it still went in.””

Slugocki’s second goal of the contest sent it into overtime and eventually into a shootout. CSU stepped up first, and Herman was able to dislodge the puck from forward Kollin Vandersluis before he got his shot off.

Junior forward Jordan Schupan went first for the Icecats and set the tone with an impressive finish on CSU goalie Mike Dlugos. Herman denied CSU once again, but forward Adam Treptow was unable to put it away.

After CSU finally got past Herman, Slugocki stepped up and buried his first career shootout goal, leaving Dlugos looking dumbstruck and giving the Icecats their third consecutive win.

“”It’s an unbelievable feeling battling back, and then to finally pull off a win in a shootout, there’s no better feeling then that,”” Slugocki said after the game.

Slugocki came up huge in Saturday’s game, scoring two goals to tie Schupan for the team lead with 10.

“”He played a stellar game tonight,”” Dougall said after game two. “”He was a main threat down there, he’s playing really well. He missed a penalty shot earlier this year and said he owed me one after that.””

While the game-two heroics belonged to Slugocki, fellow freshman Treptow took the spotlight in the Icecats’ 4-1 win in game one of the series.

The Anchorage, Alaska, native recorded his first collegiate hat trick, leading the team to a four-goal second period. Treptow scored three goals in the period alone, and the Icecats played by far their most complete game of the season.

Although the offensive output both nights was huge, the most significant performance came from Herman. He was dominant in game one, allowing only one of CSU’s 47 shots-on-goal to find the back of the net.

“”He’s playing really well these last few games, making some big saves,”” said Treptow after game one. “”We’ve got a lot of confidence in him now, hopefully he just keeps his confidence up and we keep winning.””

Aside from allowing two early goals and what seemed to be CSU’s game-winner on Saturday, Herman was solid enough to keep the Icecats in the game and eclipse the .500 mark as a starter (5-3).

After a 2-8 start to the season, it was clear the Icecats were a young, talented team with potential, but too inexperienced to pull it together.

But now that this young team knows what winning tastes like, the victories are coming in bunches and the Icecats are no longer a team waiting to break out, but rather a team bursting onto the scene.

“”I’m very proud of the guys,”” Golembiewski said. “”That showed how much confidence they have in themselves.””

Added Slugocki, “”We’ve come a long way since the beginning of the season.””

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