ASU hockey streak will end soon
Turki Allugman / Arizona Daily Wildcat
UA’s Hockey team lost ASU 5-1 at the Oceanside Ice Rink on Saturday 2/2/2013
Wildcat hockey is having its best season in years, but one huge blemish taints it for Arizona.
The UA hasn’t beaten rival ASU in 30 games, dating back to 2009. The good news is that the streak won’t last long.
It could end in Tucson in a few weeks; it was a called-back goal away from happening Friday. It could end in Chicago at the national tournament or it could happen next year.
It will end, though.
ASU is by far the best team Arizona has played this year. The Sun Devils are relentless and able to capitalize on errors by a young Wildcat squad that has blown multi-goal leads against top 10 teams five times in 2013.
Arizona State stocked its roster with junior level stars and transfers from NCAA teams. The Sun Devils play with freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors who were recruited.
Arizona has had one recruiting class, this season’s.
Hogan, who wasn’t able to recruit last year, said Arizona is competing with ASU for three or four players right now.
On paper it doesn’t seem like much of a fight, as the Sun Devils have been No. 1 most of the season and have the winning streak on their side. But if Hogan sends video clips of games from Tucson and Tempe to recruits, the tide turns heavily in Arizona’s favor.
Frankly, it’s hard to imagine the Sun Devils beating Arizona for any players now that Arizona is actually recruiting.
The atmosphere Saturday night felt more like the women’s basketball game Friday than an Arizona/ASU hockey game. The fans cheered a bit after Sun Devils’ goals, but really only got into it when there was a last-minute fight between teams. ASU’s Oceanside Arena is neither near an ocean or an arena. It’s a small local rink where most of the signage is for a youth club.
The crowd was supposedly more raucous on the side opposite the benches and the media area, but the rink is so small — pucks routinely hit the ceiling — that we should have been able hear them.
It wasn’t unusually quiet and Hogan said the atmosphere didn’t seem that different Saturday night in ASU’s 5-1 win, versus its 4-3, overtime, three-goal comeback win the night before.
Even a light Arizona hockey crowd bested a packed Oceanside. A thousand fans at the Madhouse is a bad night for the UA, but even in the full arena-sized Tucson Convention Center, they are louder than the same amount of fans at ASU.
Arizona will host ASU on Feb. 22 and Feb. 23 at the “Madhouse on Main Street,” and while it might not be on Main Street, it is a mad house.