Arizona hockey season recap: the ups and the downs

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Wildcat hockey enjoyed a long list of milestones in its second season but it was tainted by missing the national tournament and the 32 game winless streak against ASU.

What happened

Arizona faced arguably its toughest schedule ever, after years of mostly playing Division II and III teams.

Arizona won 15, its most since 2007-08. Seven of those were top 10 wins, its most since 1997-98, earning its first road sweep of an out-of-state team since 2000-01 and swept two top 10 opponents for the first time since 2005-06.

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“We are light years ahead of where we were two years ago,” second-year head coach Sean Hogan said. “We’re light years ahead of where we were last year.”

The UA won eight games against Division I teams, the most since 2007-08 and won all its games against lower division teams for the first time since 2006-07.

Arizona played 30 games against ranked teams, the most in school history and the third hardest schedule in the nation, the UA’s highest ever.

The Wildcats only won three games in the spring semester and went 0-7-1 against ASU, which they haven’t beaten since 2008-09.

Arizona blew three-goal leads against No. 2 ASU and No. 10 Liberty and two two-goal leads against No. 3 Minot State in January and February leading voters to pick a team with an inferior resume, Rutgers, for the last spot in the 20 team national tourney over the UA.

This season Arizona also welcomed its first recruiting class.

Highlight reel

Arizona won three games in a row against top 10 teams in November, sweeping No. 8 Oakland at home and beating No. 6 Oklahoma on the road.

Five days after beating Oakland 4-3 twice, the UA traveled to Oklahoma and beat the Sooners 3-1, despite leaving Tucson at 3 a.m. the day of the game.

Low point

Right before the first semester ended, fan favorite and senior goalie David Herman was dismissed for the team.

As Arizona struggled to get wins during the second semester, they played musical chairs with the goalies, playing all three remaining net minders and a senior would surely have helped them get a win or two to get to nationals or end the hellish streak.

MVP

Any one of the big three of junior forward Andrew Murmes (48 points), junior forward Ansel Ivens-Anderson (46 points), or senior forward Brian Slugocki (45 points) could be the MVP. Freshman defenseman Bryan Drazner was fourth in scoring with 19.

Slugocki, the captain, gets the nod though, because he was second in the nation in power play goals, earned three hat tricks, two against top 10 teams and led the team in goals.

Outlook for next year

Armed with a second recruiting class that Hogan said he is already excited about, Arizona should end the Sun Devil streak and make the playoffs next year.

They lose four seniors, most notably Slugocki and sophomore goalie Bob Schultz (3-9), the starter to close the season, who is going to pharmacy school. Sixteen of the top 19 scorers will return.

“It’s exponentially growing,” Drazner said. “We got a lot of good young guys here, a lot of good older guys that are going to lead the way. Losing these four guys from this senior class is going to hurt real bad, all four of them were big leaders that will be hard to replace but we’re building and that’s the goal.”

Newcomers made up seven of the top 13 scorers for the UA.


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