Arizona hockey shut out of national tournament
Despite its lofty résumé, Wildcat hockey was denied its first national tournament appearance since 2006.
American Collegiate Hockey Association coaches picked Rutgers (14-8-2) over Arizona (15-20-1) for the final spot in the 20-team national tourney.
“Well obviously we’re very disappointed,” head coach Sean Hogan said. “We feel that we did enough in our body of work, but ultimately, it’s up to a vote, anything that’s up to a vote, there’s a lot of opinions out there and that’s the way it goes. It’s obviously very disappointing.”
UA went just 3-11-1 in 2013, sealing their fate, but Rutgers only went 5-5-1 down the stretch.
Briana Sanchez / Arizona Daily Wildcat While viewing the outcome for the rest of the season, men's hockey recieves the news they did not qualify for the post season tournament in the conference center at the student rec center Wed. night.
Hogan blamed UA’s late season losses.
“We played a very difficult schedule and not winning any of those games hurt us,” Hogan said.
Arizona beat No. 6 Oklahoma twice, once on the road, No. 9 Illinois twice on the road, No. 10 Liberty on the road and No. 12 Oakland twice. Rutgers’ quality wins are over No. 11 Delaware, No. 14 Navy, twice against No. 16 Stony Brook, one at No. 17 Rhode Island and at No. 23 Westchester twice.
Arizona’s strength of schedule was No. 3, while Rutgers’ was No. 23.
The Wildcats blew three-goal leads against No. 2 ASU and Liberty and two two-goal leads against No. 3 Minot State.
“I think if you seal any of those games, you’re in,” Hogan said. Rutgers is in a conference, perhaps giving them a voting block of allies. UA will join a league next season.
“That probably has a little to do with it, for sure, you’re always going to run into that but ultimately, it’s on us, we have to win those games, so there isn’t any doubt, we don’t want to be on the bubble,” Hogan said.
The selection show hosts said Arizona was a more popular pick than Rutgers on Twitter.
Hogan didn’t think the ACHA needs a selection committee.
“No, I’m not going to blame it on the rules,” Hogan said. “Ultimately it’s on us and we have to make sure that we don’t put ourselves in a situation that we do this again.”
Rutgers played 11 road games the entire season and never traveled outside of the northeast.
According to Google Maps, the team’s road trips were short drives: Three hours to Rhode Island, two to Westchester, two to Delaware and one-and-a-half to Stony Brook.
Arizona had road trips of eight games, three and seven. They traveled to places like Illinois, Ohio, Oklahoma, Virginia and North Dakota.
The Wildcats practiced about 10 times in Chandler, Ariz., about a one and a half hour drive. Hogan did think that all the travel wore down the Wildcats.
“It absolutely does, it’s a lot of travel, we’re on the road more than most of the teams here on this campus,” Hogan said. “It definitely wears us out a bit, but it’s definitely not an excuse.”
Hogan didn’t know how the Ice Knights would have fared against UA’s schedule.
“It’s hard to say, I haven’t seen Rutgers play,” Hogan said. “I can’t say, but I can say they did not play as hard a schedule as we did, that’s for sure.”
Rutgers made the last three tournaments but went 0-5 and was outscored 39-16.