Arizona hockey hosts arch rival seeking to end streak
The Arizona hockey team gets rounds three and four against ASU at home to try and end its winless streak against the Sun Devils.
No. 17 Arizona (5-5-0) hosts bitter rival and top ranked ASU (11-0-0) on Friday and Saturday, both at 7:30 p.m. at the Tucson Convention Center. The UA is suffering from a 26-game winless streak against the Sun Devils.
“We’re definitely looking to redeem ourselves for the past few years,” senior defenseman Nick Stolz said. “I think we’ve kind of evaluated in practice this week what we need to get the job done and I think we’re going to come out firing on all cylinders for sure.”
After bringing up the streak last season and losing seven of eight games to the Sun Devils in his first year, head coach Sean Hogan is taking a different approach this season.
“We don’t, it’s not something we want to dwell on,” Hogan said about talking about the streak. “They know, the guys know, we don’t need to talk about it.”
Stolz said it is important not to dwell on the past.
“We talk about it every now and then but it’s really important to just kind of put that stuff behind you and just focus on the next game,” Stolz said.
The UA was swept in its first series with ASU this season, losing 11-3 on Sept. 28 and then 4-1 on Sept. 29. The series at ASU came after Arizona had only had a handful of on-ice practices because of construction to the TCC.
“I think we kind of got the jitters out,” Stolz said. “If we can just play our system, our game, I think we can get the job done for sure.”
Last weekend, UA settled for a split with then-No. 20 Eastern Michigan despite getting off 115 shots on goal, a performance Hogan called “lethargic.”
“The guys seem real excited about this weekend and I feel pretty good about our chances,” Hogan said. “We got to get some breaks for sure, we got to capitalize on our power plays and hold them off on power plays and get some goaltending, but we have a shot.”
Arizona will stage an alumni game at 3 p.m. before the game on Saturday. Stolz thinks the alumni will give the current Cats a boost.
“I think there will be a lot of fan support too,” Stolz said. “Having the alumni here will definitely be great to show them what we’re made of and that the Arizona hockey program still has what it takes.”