Arizona hockey hopes to return to big dance
In the final weekend Arizona hockey had to show why it should be selected for the 2014 ACHA Men’s Division 1 National Championships, it was swept and outscored 11-1 at Minot State.
Regardless, UA head coach Sean Hogan said he believes the Wildcats will get their first invitation to the tournament since the 2005-06 season.
“We’ll slip one or two spots,” Hogan said, “but we still fully expect to be in the National Tournament and [are] starting to prepare for that.”
The 20-team bracket for the tournament will be unveiled tonight at 6 p.m. The selection show will be streamed live via www.liberty.edu/cslive.
The No. 14 Wildcats (17-19-0, 8-8-0 WCHL) lost 3-0 to the defending ACHA Division I champion, No. 10 Beavers (21-6-4) on Friday.
Arizona’s offense came up empty on four power play opportunities while Steven Sisler kept his team in the game, saving 42 of 45 shots.
The following night, a grease fire erupted in the Wildcats’ net as the Beavers won 8-1.
“Honestly, it’s a culmination of the same problem we’ve had every year with our schedule,” Hogan said. “This week we only had one practice. It showed.”
Garrett Patrick got the nod in net Saturday, but was pulled in the first period for Sisler after letting Minot get a 3-1 lead. The move backfired as Sisler immediately allowed two goals on three shots faced.
Hogan then sent Sisler to the bench and put Patrick back in the net. The freshman ended up surrendering another trio of goals to the Beavers.
Freshman forward Alex O’Dea was the lone Wildcat to score all weekend.
Arizona will close out the regular season this weekend against No. 1 ASU.
“We’re finally back home this week; we don’t get on the ice until Wednesday but at least we’ll be at home,” Hogan said. “We just have to find a way to battle through that adversity.”
—Follow Joey Putrelo @JoeyPutrelo