Hockey hosts Division II Long Beach State
Rebecca Marie Sasnett / The Daily Wildcat
Andrew Murmes, Arizona Wildcat forward, glides into Riley Hengen, Minot State goalie, while trying to put the puck in the goal during the University of Arizona Wildcats vs. Minot State Beavers hockey game at the TCC Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013.
After recently facing elite teams like No. 7 Delaware, No. 6 Oklahoma and No. 2 Minot State, Arizona hockey’s schedule will ease up a bit with a weekend home series against Long Beach State.
Head coach Sean Hogan even lightened practice Wednesday, letting his players go home early after doing some playful scrimmaging with the coaches. Hogan strapped on pads and a helmet and scored a goal on assistant coach John Watanabe.
“I just stood there and took in the glory,” Hogan added about his goal, arms up in the air with an ear-to-ear grin on his face.
The Wildcats don’t get much of a break during the season.
“We haven’t had a weekend off since the end of September,” Hogan said. “We’ve played every weekend, and we’ve played a lot of tough opponents in a row. In tough times, you just need a day to get together as a team and have some fun. The guys got to see the coaches in a different light, too. Thursday’s practice will be intense again, though.”
The 49ers (5-7-1) are the second of three ACHA Division II programs the No. 12 Wildcats (8-8-0, 3-3 WCHL) will face this season. To open the 2013-14 campaign, Arizona swept its other Division II opponent, Northern Arizona University, up in Flagstaff, Ariz., and defeated the IceJacks at the Tucson Convention Center 3-2 in late October.
The hockey games this weekend won’t collide with the schedules of UA football and men’s basketball. Last week, the Wildcats basketball squad hosted its regular season opener Friday and the following night was the Homecoming football game at Arizona Stadium.
The UA football game this weekend kicks off at noon, so fans will have time to go to the hockey game afterward, at 7:30 p.m.
Fans that come out to the TCC tonight can take advantage of $1 Hot Dog Night for the third consecutive week, and Tucson Soccer Night as well.
“I’m a big soccer fan, and I played for my high school freshman year until I got injured,” said junior forward Michael Ferreira. “My favorite team is Real Madrid because I am Portuguese and [Cristiano] Ronaldo is unbelievable to watch.”
Freshman Garrett Patrick is expected to get the start in net for Arizona tonight, but he has been battling strep throat this week. If he is unable to play, senior Steven Sisler will have to fill in.
The Wildcats will also have to go the weekend without their captain Ansel Ivens-Anderson, who has been hampered the past few weeks by a high ankle sprain.
“We’re going through a rash of injuries and sickness right now,” Hogan said. “It’s just that time of the year.
Saturday attendees will have a chance to lace up a pair of skates and go out on the ice to mingle with Hogan and the Wildcats. The event will last about an hour after the game.
“It’s really great when the fans can come out and interact with us; that’s probably what I’m looking forward to most about it,” said junior defenseman and assistant captain Shane Gleason about the promotional event. “When you can put a smile on a kid’s face, it just kind of reminds you you’re out there playing for something bigger than yourself.”
—Follow Joey Putrelo @JoeyPutrelo