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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

COMIC: Rat’s Nest #3
Olivia MoreyFebruary 28, 2024
 

Icecats drop to 0-6 versus Devils

For the third time this season, the Arizona Icecats were swept by ASU, dropping to 0-6 overall after the loss to the No. 8 Sun Devils. In years past, the Icecats (10-14) have won the season series handily — 4-2 last season and 7-1 the season before — but the tide has turned in favor of the Sun Devils.

“”This year we just haven’t been able to beat them,”” said sophomore forward Brady Lefferts. “”When you’re playing your rival the game means a little bit more, and going 0-6 is obviously not good. It’s very frustrating.””

The Sun Devils took advantage of an Icecats team that wasn’t able to practice all week leading up to the game, outscoring UA 13-5 during the weekend en route to a two-game sweep in Tempe.

Both games were competitive for the better part of 60 minutes, but timely power-play goals ultimately lifted the Sun Devils over the Icecats.

“”We just can’t give them power-play chances,”” Lefferts said. “”That was the biggest thing I took from the weekend — their power play is good and we can’t take penalties against them.””

In game one of the series, the Icecats struck first with a goal from freshman Brian Slugocki. ASU answered back with two scores of their own, until UA freshman Jeff Back knotted things up at 2.

Early in the second period, junior co-captain Jordan Schupan was sliced in the neck by the skate of an ASU player, leading to a trip to the hospital and eight stitches.

“”It was just one of those freaky things where he got slashed by the skate of another player,”” said head coach Leo Golembiewski. “”Half an inch deeper and it could have been a lot worse. He’ll be out indefinitely until that heals.””

Despite Schupan’s absence, the Icecats kept things close until late in the second period, when ASU found the net courtesy of a power play and extended its lead to 4-2. The Icecats ultimately couldn’t muster up enough offense to mount a comeback and fell 5-2.

Although the score was different, the second game was almost a mirror image of the first — only this time, junior goaltender Nick Taylor started in the net. The usual starter, freshman Dave Herman, injured his knee in game one and was unable to play.

“”The second game was a little tough knowing 10 minutes beforehand that Herman couldn’t go,”” Golembiewski said. “”It was tough on Nick Taylor because it’s hard ten minutes before the game starts when you’re warming up, you hear, ‘Oh, by the way, you’re going to be starting.'””

Taylor had a gutsy performance nonetheless, stopping 61 shots. But the Icecats were once again unable to swing a 2-2 tie in their favor, and again fell victim to the ASU power play. The Sun Devils capitalized on two power plays to surge ahead 4-2, and three ASU goals in the final five minutes resulted in an 8-3 Icecats loss.

“”If we just could have stayed out of the penalty box,”” Lefferts said. “”That gives them a lot of momentum to come out on a power play and score.””

The Icecats came up short once again in Tempe, but they have six games remaining on their schedule and need to win at least five in order to avoid finishing the season below .500 for the first time in six seasons and the second time in the program’s 30-year history.

“”I definitely think that we can win five of our next six,”” Lefferts said. “”We need to go sweep at Weber State and in Colorado. We can win our next four games and hopefully end beating ASU at home.””

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