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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona hockey sweeps ASU in Tucson, securing 6th consecutive Cactus Cup victory

An+Arizona+hockey+player+scates+up+the+ice+in+a+game+agiant+rival+ASU+on+Feb.+24%2C+2023+in+the+Tucson+Conversation+Center.+The+Wildcat+hockey+team+won+1-0.
Nathanial Stenchever
An Arizona hockey player scates up the ice in a game agiant rival ASU on Feb. 24, 2023 in the Tucson Conversation Center. The Wildcat hockey team won 1-0.

The Arizona hockey team swept ASU in a two-game series at home, winning 5-3 in the first outing and 6-5 in the next. This caps off Arizona’s regular season, putting them sixth overall in the Western Collegiate Hockey League with 15 wins and 15 losses. Despite an apparent subpar season in the record books, they finished 7-5 in their 2024 games. Additionally, the Wildcats secured more road wins this year compared to the entirety of their first half of the season in 2023. 

From a three-game sweep earlier in the year to two out of three away wins in their last series, the Wildcats never stopped once; this series proved to be one of their best this season.

Game 1: Thursday, Feb. 15, at 7:30 p.m.

Thursday’s game opened with an early ASU goal in the first minutes, putting the Wildcats down 1-0. This wouldn’t last long, with Arizona’s Jack Kurrle scoring a goal midway through the period. However, the Sun Devils responded with another goal of their own, putting Arizona down by 1. ASU continued to apply pressure, pushing toward the offensive. In the first period, ASU attempted 16 shots compared to Arizona’s 10.

Arizona’s luck flipped with a master class of scoring and offensive prowess by Tyler Shetland. Shetland scored a goal after a power play, leveling the Wildcats with the Sun Devils. Two minutes later, Dylan Walker scored another goal for the Wildcats, putting them ahead 3-2. This fast-paced tempo wouldn’t slow down, with Brody Selman’s goal pushing the Wildcats to a massive 4-2 lead. However, just as the second period expired, ASU made a last-minute goal that reduced the Wildcats’ lead to 1.

Midway through the third period, Nicholas Chiocca scored another goal for the Wildcats and extended their lead over the Sun Devils. Despite the advantage the Wildcats had over ASU, the Sun Devils still outshot the Wildcats 41 to 40. With this performance, the Wildcats earned their sixth Cactus Cup in a row. This was a crucial win for the team, but more importantly for the seniors, since this was their Senior Night. Dylan Walker was the player of the game with a goal and two assists in the victory.

Game 2: Saturday, Feb. 17, at 1 p.m.

The Wildcats entered the second outing of the series off high spirits from their previous victory. Walker and Shetland were the first scorers for the Wildcats, netting their goals roughly halfway through the first period. Despite ASU scoring a shorthanded goal after, a goal from Arizona’s Will Josephson would put the Wildcats back up 3-1 at the end of the period. Arizona’s offense was on the move, attempting 14 shots over ASU’s 11.

The second period would be a nerve-wracking one for the Wildcats as ASU continued to apply pressure onto Arizona’s lead. ASU’s Carter Newlin scored two minutes into the second period, reducing Arizona’s lead to 1 goal. Then an altercation between ASU and Arizona, involving three players from each team, would give the Wildcats a massive power play opportunity. Both Chiocca and Selman would net goals for the Wildcats, pushing their lead to 5-2. However, ASU would turn things back in its favor slightly by scoring twice in the waning minutes of the period, reducing Arizona’s lead to 1.

ASU would start the third period by tying the game with an early goal, putting Arizona’s offense in a must-score position. Michael Pizzo would be the Wildcat to seal the deal, scoring a game-winning goal for Arizona. Arizona would then complete the home sweep against its in-state rival. Shetland and Selman were crucial in the victory with a goal and assist each. Jesse Lowell would also be key in this performance with his two assists coming from the first two Wildcat goals of the match.

Looking ahead:

While the WCHL regular season comes to a close, the Wildcats have an exhibition match against the Arizona Coyotes Alumni on Saturday, Feb. 24 at 1 p.m. in the Tucson Convention Center . After this, the team will turn their attention toward the American Collegiate Hockey Association National Tournament; the Wildcats are slated as No. 19 in the ACHA. They look to be serious competitors when the time comes in St. Louis.


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