Wildcat hockey increases record to 19-7 with 6-4 win
The Wildcats faced off against the Utah Utes once again Jan 13 and came away with a 6-4. It was much more than just a hockey game because the team held the 4th annual pink the rink night. Players wore custom pink jerseys with the name of someone who is battling cancer or has battled cancer. All players also wore pink socks and some opted to use pink stick tape.
The Wildcats headed into the game with a 7-3 victory over the Utes on Friday night. On Saturday, the Wildcats looked to continue their success at home and Utah looked to avoid losing back-to-back games in Tucson.
Just like Friday night, the Wildcats took most of the first period to figure out the Utah defense. While it took a while to get both offenses going it didn’t take long at all for the hits to start. Both teams came out with an extra edge on the ice with hard hits flying left and right.
The Wildcats scored their first goal of the game after a shot from the point by Nick Zellmer that found twine with 4:26 left before the horn. Early in the second, the Utes tied the game one to one on a quick one-timer goal near the crease.
With 12 minutes left in the second period the Wildcats regained the lead after a power play tip by Josh Larson. Utah continued to pressure Arizona and find open space, and were rewarded for their hard work. The Utes buried their second goal of the night with just a minute and a half left in the second, tying the game at two.
The third period was setup to be an intense one since the Wildcats were going into the third tied or the first time since Oct 26 in the 3-0 loss to Central Oklahoma (they were tied 0-0 in the COU contest).
It was Orion Olsen who lit the lamp first in what would be an onslaught of goals in the final three minutes that made the rowdy crowd cheer and boo like their lives depended on it.
With just under 12 minutes left, leading scorer Anthony Cusanelli buried his first of the night. Utah quickly answered back to make it 4-4. Cusanelli found the twine again, claiming what would be the game-winner as his own. Utah pulled their goalie in hopes to score the game tying goal, but the strategy backfired as the puck was turned over and Roy Grandov got the insurance goal - the 6th of the night.
It was a big win for the team, but head coach Chad Berman was busy on looking ahead to their next game, which will be against ASU in Tempe.
“It’s an important game for us it’s gonna be a challenge for us for sure," Berman said. "[ASU is] on the road mid-week, they’re in the freezing cold [in North Dakota] in January, they’re coming off a three game sweep. They had a really tough loss tonight, it’s been a tough season for them there. For us, it’s no excuse we got to get it together and clean some things up."
The Wildcats face off against the Arizona State Sun Devils on Wednesday, Jan 17 in Tempe and will be back at the Tucson Convention Center for Jan 19 and 20 to play the Milwaukee School of Engineering.
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