UA hockey experiments with its lineup
Tyler Besh / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Hockey vs Oklahoma
Wildcat hockey has been experimenting with its lineup as of late, most notably moving senior Zack Waxenberg from defenseman to forward to use his size to create more scoring chances.
“It’s gone great so far,” Waxenberg said. “I’m happy to do whatever is best for the team. I’ve been able to forecheck well and break it out of the zone, so whatever I can do to help.”
Waxenberg has played in 32 games — missing a few games because of shoulder injuries — and has two assists.
“He’s done a great job for us,” head coach Sean Hogan said. “He’s a guy that never gets enough credit in terms of what he means to the hockey program here. He’s a guy that never ever complains. He’s a consummate team-first guy.”
The 6-foot-2, 198-pound Del Mar, Calif., native said he had played defenseman his whole career.
“We’ll put him at forward or ‘D,’ he’ll stand in front of the net on power play, he’ll do whatever you ask of him,” Hogan said. “He’s a team-first guy, and we are going to miss him for sure because of that. He’s just a great kid, and I can’t say enough good things about him.”
Arizona has also broken up the big-three line of senior forward Brian Slugocki, junior forward Andrew Murmes and junior forward Ansel Ivens-Anderson.
Hogan said they did want to keep Murmes and Ivens-Anderson on the same line “because they work so well together.”
Murmes and Ivens-Anderson lead Arizona in points with 47 and 46, respectively, and Slugocki leads the team in goals with 25.
Arizona’s campaign to pack the Tucson Convention Center for this weekend’s series with No. 2 Arizona State appears to be working.
Arizona is running a buy two, get one free deal for series tickets. The special lasts until Thursday, and tickets must be bought at the Tucson Convention Center ticket office.
Hogan said advance ticket sales have been better than normal.
“I’ve been told they’ve been really good,” Hogan said. “They’ve been higher than they were in years past, in terms of tickets sold this early out.”
The Wildcats have been running commercials and have designated this week a “Red Out” as they try to end Arizona’s 30-game winless streak against the Sun Devils.
“You always expect a big crowd when you play ASU,” Waxenberg said. “That’s one of the great perks of playing here. You get to play in front of 5,000 people, and I’m sure with all the advertisements and presales, it will be exciting.”
The last sellout was Feb. 21, 2009, which was also Arizona’s last win over ASU, a 4-3 shootout win.
The Wildcats will wear their blue jerseys instead of the normal white sweaters on Friday night, Hogan said.
The positive vibe for Rutgers didn’t last long.
The No. 18 Ice Knights, who took Arizona’s spot in the national tournament, lost in the first round of their conference tournament 5-4 to No. 24 Westchester.
“There [are] a lot of teams that are ahead of us that we didn’t feel should be ahead of us,” Hogan said. “But again, it comes down to [that] we had chances to win games and that we didn’t close out.”
Rutgers’ opponent in the opening round of nationals, No. 14 Navy, lost 9-3 to Towson in its league playoffs. The winner of the game between Towson and Westchester will face ASU.