Arizona hockey optimistic after being swept
Arizona hockey was swept for the third consecutive series in a row by the visiting York University of the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) league over the weekend.
Luckily for the No. 12 Wildcats (10-12-0), the exhibition losses won’t count toward their record or rank in the ACHA.
The score was tied at two entering the third period of Friday’s game, but the Lions still managed to pull away with a 3-2 victory. Saturday, Arizona played a more pedestrian game, falling 7-1.
York, located in Toronto, Ontario, plays at the equivalent of the NCAA Division I level in the CIS. UA head coach Sean Hogan said because of this, he was overall pleased with how his squad battled throughout the weekend.
“Friday, we played about as well as we’ve played all year,” Hogan said. “Obviously, [the Lions] are a team that’s playing at a higher level than we are right now, so I think it’s a good sign of things in the future here.”
Both juniors Michael Ferreira and Shane Gleason scored on the power play for Arizona in the first period Friday. The following night, the Wildcats avoided being shut out after senior forward Andrew Murmes potted a goal on an assist from freshman forward Zach Morgan.
“[Friday,] we did the little things right, and that’s what we need to do to win games,” Murmes said. “[Saturday] was more of a struggle; we had our ups and downs. But as far as my goal: Zach Morgan made an unbelievable forecheck; he gave it to me right in front of an open net.”
Goalie Steven Sisler shined for the UA throughout the weekend, making a total 64 saves. The senior posted 33 in his Friday start along with 31 in a relief appearance for freshman Garrett Patrick Saturday.
A majority of the Lions had prior experience playing professional hockey. In 2006, defenseman John de Gray was picked in the third round of the NHL draft by the Anaheim Ducks.
De Gray, who previously played for the American Hockey League’s Syracuse Crunch, described the Tucson Convention Center fans as “a lot rowdier than most” he’s seen in the United States.
Both Friday and Saturday, de Gray found the net.
“It’s really beautiful weather [in Tucson], so that makes it a lot easier for us to come down here,” de Gray said. “We got a chance to go see Mount Lemmon, the city and area a little bit.”
The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Wildcats this week, who are set to face No. 6 Oklahoma and on Thursday at the TCC. Friday and Saturday, Arizona will host No. 11 Central Oklahoma as well.
“I think we’re going to have a pretty surprising semester here,” Hogan said. “I think we’re going to make some noise and be in the national tournament; I firmly believe that.”
—Follow Joey Putrelo @JoeyPutrelo