Arizona hockey sweeps NAU, winning 4-3
Wildcats take place in "Teddy Bear Toss' for charity
No. 18 Arizona (12-9-0) wrapped up the fall semester with a 4-3 win over Division II Northern Arizona (14-6-0) after nearly blowing a 3-0 lead.
Wildcat hockey junior forward Andrew Murmes had an eventful Saturday night, scoring the game-winning goal.
“We were able to pull out the win and that’s all that matters,” Murmes said.
Murmes scored the first goal to initiate the Teddy Bear Toss presented by NOVA Home Loans, where fans were instructed to throw teddy bears onto the ice 3:42 into the game. Senior forward Brian Slugocki provided the assist.
“Slugo made a great defensive play, pressured the guy and hit the puck to me and I just wound up with it,” Murmes said. “I was going top left and it went there, which is always nice. So then after I heard the crowd going it was nice, I wanted to steal a teddy bear but I couldn’t.”
UA hockey interns and members of the Alpha Delta Pi sorority collected over 900 teddy bears and other stuffed animals. The collected toys will be donated to Toys For Tots.
“I think people had fun with it and it’s something that we’re going to do every year,” head coach Sean Hogan said.
In addition to the “Teddy Bear Toss,” Slugocki and Murmes took photos with Marines who helped pack the bears after the first period.
“It was awesome, there was so many teddy bears, I wanted a big one,” Murmes said. “I think it was a great showing, everyone came out and there was so many [Teddy Bears] I didn’t think we were going to be able to play the first.”
With 10 minutes, 41 seconds remaining in the first period, sophomore forward Mike Ferreira scored a goal, assisted by sophomore defenseman Shane Gleason.
“I thought we started out pretty well,” Hogan said. “I thought we’d be able to score some goals, but then we laid off. Give credit to Northern Arizona for battling hard.”
At the beginning of the second period, junior forward Ansel Ivens-Anderson put the UA up 3-0 with a goal. Murmes continued his successful night, recording the assist.
“When we do get opportunities and we weren’t short handed, we were fine,” Hogan said.
NAU responded however, with a power play goal with 12:16 left in the second and a goal right after a power play with 21 seconds left in the second period.
The Ice Jacks tied it up with a power play goal with 12:06 remaining in the game. It appeared the Wildcats responded three minutes later, but the goal light did not go on and an Arizona goal two minutes later was disallowed due to penalty.
Hogan said the penalties chopped up the flow of the game and made it hard to play.
“Penalties absolutely killed us, both ways,” Murmes said. “Both teams had penalties and unfortunately it cost our third and fourth line guys some ice time .We’re at our best when all four lines are rolling.”
Nine minutes later, with 3:42 left in the game, Murmes capped off his performance in scoring the game-winning goal.
“It was awesome,” Murmes said.
UA swept the season series, sweeping the Ice Jacks in Flagstaff, Ariz., 7-3 and 4-2 and Tucson, 8-1 and 4-3.
Freshman goalie Dylan Hojnacki (2-0) made his second start, tallying 17 saves. UA went two for nine on the power play and outshot the Ice Jacks 45-20.
“I wish we could have played a little better [Saturday] night with the bigger crowd,” Hogan said.
The Wildcats end the semester on a four game winning streak and have won seven of their last nine. Arizona plays next on Jan. 3, when they host Williston State.
“We got the four wins in the last two weeks that we should get, so we are excited heading into the break,” Hogan said.