Minot State ends Arizona hockey's 2017-18 season by a score of 5-1

Ian Green | The Daily Wildcat Arizona hockey players watch the game from the bench during the UA-CU game on Nov. 2 at Tucson Convention Center.

No. 16 Arizona fell to No. 1 Minot State in Columbus, Ohio today, by a score fo 5-1, closing the book on the 2017-18 season for the Wildcats.

Arizona's lone goal was scored by sophomore defenseman Manny Rowe in the second period on the power play. The primary assist went to senior Tyler Griffith, and the secondary to freshman Max Meyer.

The defeat can be traced back to penalty trouble, something the 'Cats have struggled with all season long. Four of Minot's five goals were scored with a man advantage; their PP% was 66 percent.

Anthony Ciurro was the choice in net for coach Berman. After having 29 saves on 30 high quality shots the previous night against Missouri State, he was not a questionable choice. He made 29 saves on 34 shots through 54 minutes. He was replaced by senior Austin Wilson for the final six minutes.

Anthony Cusanelli was the victim of a big open-ice collision in the second period, one that caused him to leave the ice for the remainder of the period, but he was back on for the third. It appears as if Cusanelli is squished between two Beavers, and when he falls over, his head hits the ice. 

Because there was no distinct head contact between a Beavers player and Cusanelli no penalties were called. However, he did not have possession of the puck so there was an argument for an interference call.

"This has been an amazing season for Arizona Wildcat hockey and we're learning how to eventually become the number one team in the country by qualifying for the ACHA National Tournament twice in three years," head coach Chad Berman said in a press release, "Thank you to all the fans in Wildcat Nation. We're going to be bigger and better next year."

The Wildcats finished the season with a 23-11 record with one overtime loss and one shootout loss, which was a great improvement from the previous 14-14 season with two shootout wins, overtime wins, and overtime losses. Overall, they let up 28 less goals.

It is the end of an era for the graduating seniors, but, as Berman alluded to, there's so much more in store for next season.

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