Arizona looks ahead to early games after 7-2 loss
After catching some wind in their sails after a 7-0 win against Oklahoma, Arizona IceCats faced a heavy storm with ranked No. 5 Colorado coming in and ultimately fell 7-2 to the Buffaloes, but won't let it slow them down.
"All of the adjustments that we had prepared for from the last time we saw these guys to today literally we didn't touch; we didn't even go near the game plan," Arizona head coach Chad Berman said.
And that was seen on the ice.
In the first period, the Wildcats were alive. They struck first with a goal from Ethan Stahlhuth after Anthony Cusanelli worked over a handful of Colorado's skaters and slipped it to his teammate for a nice tap in. Defensively they always had three men back and clogged up the middle of the ice. They were blocking shots and passes left and right. The 'Cats limited Colorado to just one goal that period.
But it didn't take long for Colorado to undercut Arizona's gameplan.
In the second period, Colorado was playing the same game Arizona had: they were sticking to the outsides and impeding the Wildcats' lanes and routes in the center of the ice. Arizona was being frustrated by what had appeared to be their own gameplan, but they got away from it and started to chase the puck at every end of the ice.
And the third was not a different story. Both teams had fallen into ruts – one good, one bad – and the game ended like the third period had started, lopsided.
Berman, despite the loss, still said there was a lot to take from the game and there's plenty to grow from. This isn't surprising considering so many of the players now only have 13 or less games on the ACHA level under their belt.
"There's a couple guys I've been curious, and I don't want to say anything too premature, but I want to see what they can bring tomorrow," Berman said.
One player he was impressed by was Charlie James, a gritty player who has been on the team for now three seasons. At the end of the game he was placed on the power play, a unit he's not usually seen on, so he will certainly, among other players Berman did not mention, be one to keep an eye on.
Despite the difficult starts to their past two weekend series, Berman still supports his players and knows what they are capable of.
"I love those guys and I know we'll be better so we'll stand behind them," Berman said.
Arizona takes on Colorado State on Friday and Saturday, both at 2 p.m. at the Tucson Convention Center.
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