Wildcat hockey ties in a shootout with ASU for second time this season

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Rachel Huston | The Daily Wildcat Arizona's Sean Ozment (5) goes to grab the puck on the backcheck during the game against GCU on Feb. 10 at AZ Ice Peoria, in Peoria, Ariz.

After sixty-five minutes of play, the Wildcat hockey team’s rivalry game against ASU was ended at the hands of ASU goalie, as he stopped two shots to secure the 4-3 win for the Sun Devils, though the game goes down as a tie in the standings.

It was the first game in a while that the Wildcats were on their game, generating offense from all areas of the ice. It comes as no surprise that most offense came from their reunited line of Chris Westlund, Anthony Cusanelli, and Ethan Stahlhuth. They were the first line the find the back of the net.

However, the line wasn’t entirely healthy. Head coach Chad Berman attested to the strength and dedication both Cusanelli and Westlund have considering they were not at 100 percent for this game.

“I thought it was gutty. Clearly those guys are still hurtin’ and trying to fight through injury, you know, so, I mean jeez, what great pieces moving forward for us. It’s not just the talent but the heart and commitment to the team,” Berman said.

Besides injuries still nagging the ‘Cats, it was their special teams that really limited their capabilities. Two ASU’s three goals were on the power play–both from slapshots at the point–and Arizona failed to convert on any of their PP chances.

“[ASU’s Preston] Ames, No. 10, does a really good job at the top of the point at getting pucks through. We know that, so why we’re giving so much space is frustrating. Our PK has been pretty good all year, wasn’t good enough today… we gotta get more aggressive with stick-on-puck, we gotta move our feet,” Berman said.

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The hero of the night had to be ASU’s goaltender, who stopped a backhand move by Max Meyer, and a five-hole attempt by Anthony Cusanelli in the shootout. Before heading to the shootout he had blocked a total of 57 shots for the night.

The other hero of the night was the goal posts and crossbar. Arizona hit all three bars at various times during the game, but three came in the five minute overtime. Each time, Arizona’s shooters had ASU’s goalie beat and could have ended it, but were denied by a red piece of iron.

Now, Arizona will have to put their sights on Sunday’s matchup–especially because it will be senior night. Arizona will be waving goodbye and honoring six seniors that night at their very last home game as Wildcats. The seniors are Sean Ozment, Roy Grandov, Griffin Dyne, Tyler Griffith, Orion Olsen, and Austin Wilson. 

As it has been in previous years, it will likely be an emotional night for fans, players, and coaching staff alike. Puck drops at 4 p.m. for that afternoon affair.


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