Arizona hockey loses two games to ASU over weekend

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Kyle Hansen | The Daily Wildcat

Arizona hockey forward Alex O'Dea (7) attempts a shot during Arizona's 3-1 loss to ASU in the Tucson Convention Center on Saturday. O'Dea and the Wildcats were swept over a two-game series by the ASU Sun Devils.

Instate rival Arizona State swept Arizona on home ice this weekend at the Tucson Convention Center. On Friday night, ASU shut out Arizona 6-0 and then won again 3-1 on Saturday night.

The sweep was deja vu for the Wildcats as No. 1 Arizona State holds a six-game win streak over Arizona.

After giving up three goals in the first period Friday night, Garrett Patrick was replaced between the pipes by freshman goalie Austin Wilson, who guarded a shutout in the second period.

“I thought it was a really good second period,” UA hockey head coach Chad Berman said. “We were able to clog up the neutral zone with a trap, which created turnovers which first and foremost slowed them down. I think we need to build off of the positives.”

With such a heated rivalry, the Cactus Cup always roots physical play between these two Arizona teams. On Friday night, a full on brawl broke out between Wildcat Robbie Wilkinson and Sun Devil Connor Schmidt that led to an immediate ejection, as well as a one-game suspension for both players.

Unfortunately, Wilson and the Wildcat’s defense could not withstand the offense produced by the defending national champions, letting in three goals during the final period. 

On Saturday night, Arizona came out like a completely different team. The Sun Devils put up 18 shots.

Someone once said, the best athletes have short-term memories. Patrick put that into action on Saturday night because despite a poor performance the previous night, Patrick started in net on Saturday, stopping 31 of 34 shots.

“Everyone has games like that and you just have to put it behind you and focus on the next game,” Patrick said. “I had some bad bounces and wasn’t as mentally in it as I should have been. But tonight, I felt on and watching the puck well.”

Overall, Arizona came out onto the ice like a completely different team. The Sun Devils put up 18 shots against the Wildcats but left the first period without a goal.

Although the score showed donuts on the scoreboard going into the second period, Arizona’s defense struggled tremendously throughout the night. The Wildcats are usually lights out when they are playing with a man down, but went two for six during their penalty kill. The Sun Devils scored two of their three goals during power plays.

Arizona was trailing by three goals when Alex O’Dea finally found the back of the net for the Wildcats late into the third period. O’Dea was the only Wildcat to score against the Sun Devils this weekend and earlier in the season up in Tempe. “They are a good team; give them credit,” Berman said. “If you make mistakes like we did, they are a team that will make you pay.”

Wildcat hockey returns Jan. 8, 2014, when No. 2 University of Central Oklahoma and No. 7 University of Oklahoma travel to TCC for a new year of ACHA hockey.

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