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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Icecats prepare for final road trip

Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Icecats were blanked by the University of Colorado Buffaloes 0-4 Friday night at the Tucson Convention Center.

Saturday night was a different story as the Cats held on for 2-1 victory over Colorado.
Mike Christy
Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat The Icecats were blanked by the University of Colorado Buffaloes 0-4 Friday night at the Tucson Convention Center. Saturday night was a different story as the ‘Cats held on for 2-1 victory over Colorado.

Arizona caps its season-opening, seven-game road trip this weekend when it takes on University of Nevada, Las Vegas, for a two-game series.

The Icecats opened up the season with two losses to ASU. then they traveled to Ohio for the American Collegiate Hockey Association Showcase where they went 2-1. However, the team had an eight-day stretch off the ice after its 8-3 win over No. 19 West Chester on Oct. 10.

UNLV is currently 3-0 but hasn’t had a game since Oct. 1. The Rebels average 4.3 goals so far this season and have only given up 2.3. Last year the Icecats lost both games in Las Vegas by a combined score of 15-6 but won 6-3 when the Rebels came to Tucson.

“”We’re looking forward to getting back on the ice,”” said senior co-captain Jordan Schupan. “”We didn’t have a very good showing, and I’m excited to get back up there because of the new team dynamic.””

“”We have a lot more to offer this year. We’re excited about a lot of the new guys, and the returning guys have been stepping up, too,”” he added.

Schupan feels the team can win both games this weekend.

“”Our offense right now is really clicking, so if we can keep that going we should be able to come out with two ‘Ws,'”” he said.

Head coach Leo Golembiewski said it’s essential to get the most out of the ice time to get the feel back for the skill factors.

“”You can’t become a better shooter unless you shoot and you can’t become a better skater unless you skate,”” he said. “”These three days are important because UNLV is a tough team, usually an older club and very hard to beat in their barn.””

The players still kept in shape in their time off the ice and also spent extra time with academics. Golembiewski added that it gave the team extra time to recover from standard bumps and bruises.

“”We do go the gym together but in different groups because of time constraints with school,”” Schupan said. “”We definitely do a lot of cardio and light lifting to keep in shape.””

Golembiewski made a couple of adaptations to the front lines in their last game. The first one is Schupan anchoring sophomores Scott Willson and Jared Lowell. The second is freshman Andrew Murmes centering for junior Blake Richards and sophomore Brian Slugocki.

“”We’ve mixed up the lines a little bit, and we’re finding some combos that work,”” Schupan said. “”It’s early in the year, and if we’re starting to click, now we’ll just continue to improve on that.””

Golembiewski also said that they are establishing a third line that can score. He emphasized that that it can’t just be a “”chucking line.””

The third line is currently sophomore Sean Sullivan centering freshman Eric Watters and sophomore Michael Babyak.

Scoring goals hasn’t been a problem for the Icecats, especially in the last two games in which they scored eight in each. Their season average stands at 5.4. Slugocki leads the team in goals with seven. He also has three assists.

Murmes leads the team with 14 points despite a slow start that he was disappointed in. He’s scored six goals and registered eight assists. Schupan is just behind him with 13 points on four goals and nine assists.

“”I showed up to Ohio, and I just wanted to prove myself,”” Murmes said. “”There was great line support in the last game. It was nothing individual. We were finding each other and creating opportunities.””

Murmes also said that the defensemen have done a good job getting the puck up to the forwards. He expects the offense to stay strong in Las Vegas and knows the goal is to win both games.

“”We have an offense with three strong lines — two I think can score every time they are on the ice, and the third one most likely could do the same,”” Murmes said.

“”We’ve got some good puck-moving defensemen too.””

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