When the seniors from this year’s team look back at their final season of collegiate hockey, their eyes may water when thinking about how things ended, but they’ll certainly remember the ride.
The Wildcats finished the year with a full-ice brawl against then-No. 4 ASU, capping off a 24-game losing streak to their rival and a 4-11-2 record to finish the season.
Overall it was a successful season for the consistently top-25 team, and the senior leadership was a key factor in the team’s return to relevancy under first-year head coach Sean Hogan.
Seniors Blake Richards and assistant captain Brady Lefferts were two of the three parts to the team’s most high-powered offensive line.
Its other member, sophomore Andrew Murmes, led the team with 52 points, but the veteran Lefferts was only two points back, at 50, and had a team-high 25 goals.
Richards was third on the team with 31 points and was one of three players to play in all 34 games.
The other senior forward, Chad Wade, appeared in 27 games for the Wildcats and scored three goals in his final season at Arizona.
But where the seniors really made their mark was on the defensive end.
Assistant captain Geordy Weed and senior Jonathan Watanabe were stalwarts in the back all season, as Weed missed just one game and Watanabe suited up for all 34.
Watanabe even got into the mix offensively with 24 points on the season, a team-high for defensemen.
Seniors Shane and Sean MacLachlan brought both toughness and brains to the team, as the Canadian twins played in nearly every game while also being named to the ACHA All-Academic team, along with Weed.