Arizona hockey splits series with Missouri State
The Arizona hockey team had its discipline tested this weekend as the Wildcats faced a scrappy Missouri State team.
From the outset of this weekend’s series, Arizona head coach Chad Berman knew that the Ice Bears would be a formidable challenge. Missouri State had recently swept the University of Central Oklahoma, a team that outscored Arizona 14-3 in its weekend series back in October.
Friday night’s contest saw Arizona’s surging back-up goaltender Austin Wilson get the start. The Ice Bears got on the scoreboard first as Missouri's Austin Purdy deflected a wrist shot past Wilson.
The game marked the return of Arizona’s captain, Dylan Carter, as he came back to play from a collarbone injury that had kept him sidelined for weeks.
Carter made his presence known as he had a backhand power-play goal in the first period to tie the score.
“It’s more than just a good player,” Arizona forward Robbie Wilkinson said regarding the return of Carter to the lineup. “It’s just inspiration for the team and it helps everybody and brings the morale up.”
Arizona kept its offensive surge going as Wilkinson scored a highlight reel breakaway goal off a beautiful saucer pass from Griffin Connolly.
Wilkinson was all alone on the Ice Bears goaltender Justin Davis and deked him out easily and roofed the puck to put the Wildcats ahead 2-1 at the end of the period.
The UA padded its lead in the second period with an Anthony Rosetta power-play goal and then the Wildcats found themselves trying to restrain one another from engaging Missouri State.
“What I liked, for the most part, is that we stayed out of the junk that that team wants to get into,” Berman said. “Clearly that coach has got zero control of his group.”
In several instances, the Ice Bears were pushing and shoving UA players after the whistle trying to draw the Wildcats into taking penalties. Missouri State team members weren't shy in talking trash from their own bench either.
Wilson allowed a goal in the late goings of the third period, but Arizona held their ground to lock down a 3-2 win on Friday night.
For Carter, he was aware that Friday night’s game wasn’t anywhere near the team’s best effort.
“To be honest, we were a bit sloppy tonight, I don’t think we played our best game,” Carter said. “We still a found way to win and that’s what matters.”
The frustration level from Missouri State was evident on Saturday night as they had no problem engaging in post-whistle altercations with Arizona.
The forefront of the extracurricular activity came as the Ice Bears Marshall Gevers went hard into the corner with Arizona’s Rosetta as both were fighting for the puck. Gevers then threw a jab at Rosetta and ripped off his helmet. Rosetta did the right thing by skating away from the fracas as UA was awarded a five-minute power play from Gevers' game misconduct penalty.
Arizona, already in a 1-0 hole as goaltender Garrett Patrick was given the second start of the weekend, could not capitalize on its lengthy man advantage.
UA eventually found the back of the net as John Hogan notched a goal in the second period.
The game remained deadlocked as it went to a shootout, where the Wildcats ultimately fell and lost by a score of 2-1.
Arizona will not play next weekend but will return to the Tucson Convention Center Arena on Dec. 4 to play a two-game set against ASU’s Division II team.
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