Hockey loses with postseason berth on the line
Wildcat hockey got its three-game road trip to North Dakota off to a poor start as they lost 4-1 Thursday to Williston State, a junior college team, after giving up three goals on four shots in the first few minutes.
“The good news is we still have two games left,” head coach Sean Hogan said. “This is the one we probably should’ve taken, we could have won.”
Williston State took the lead 1:58 into the game on its first shot. On its second shot, 2:44 in, the Tetons scored their second goal.
Junior Steven Sisler started in goal but didn’t last long. After Williston State scored its third goal, on four shots, midway through the first period, Hogan pulled him in favor of sophomore Bob Schultz.
Schultz made 26 saves in relief.
“We had to yank Sisler and put in Schultz, but from then on, honestly, we carried the play,” Hogan said. “We had a lot of chances, just couldn’t find the net.”
Hogan said Schultz will start Friday. Schultz was the second string goaltender most of the year, but started both games at No. 2 ASU last week.
The Wildcats (15-18-1) flew to Minot, N.D. and then bused to WSC.
“This is a really long trip,” Hogan said. “The guys were at the airport at 5 a.m. and they were up at 4 a.m. to get to the airport. You fly all day and then you bus across North Dakota and you basically pull in to play the game, it makes it hard.”
Friday and Saturday the UA faces No. 3 Minot State (22-4-0). Hogan said he thinks if they get a win against the Beavers it will secure a bid to the national tournament for the Wildcats.
“It wasn’t an ideal situation to begin with, but we have to play better, we have to find a way to play well-versed Minot or we might miss out on a real good opportunity to make the national tournament for the first time in a long time,” Hogan said.
The national tournament field will be selected from the top 18 next week. Arizona’s last appearance in the national tournament was in 2006.
At 13:33 in the third, Williston State scored its fourth goal.
The Wildcats went 1-7 on the power play, though they did hold the Tetons to 0-3 on power plays.
“The guys know they played bad, they just couldn’t get anything going,” Hogan said. “It’s just frustrating for everybody.”
Freshman forward Brennen Parker put Arizona on the board with a power play goal, assist from freshman forward Mike Adamowicz with about three minutes left.
Arizona is 1-5-0 in two game series after playing a Thursday game the day before, including the last time they played MSU.
The Wildcats are 0-2-0 against Minot State this year after the Beavers swept the UA in Tucson Jan. 4-5. Arizona had 2-0 leads in both games, but coughed those both up, losing 6-2 and 5-3.
Sophomore forward Logan Herauf leads Minot State with 41 points.
Former NCAA Division I player and senior forward Jordan Willert, has 20 points in 24 games.
In the two game series in Tucson, 13 Beavers scored points. Herauf led the way with four goals.