Arizona Wildcats hockey ranked No. 20 in final coaches poll, next season looking up

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Drew Gyorke and Drew Gyorke | The Daily Wildcat Drew Gyorke / Arizona Daily Wildcat Arizona Ice Cats vs. Oklahoma

Arizona hockey earned its best final ranking since 2005-06, but head coach Sean Hogan wasn’t that excited.

The Wildcats were No. 20 in the final coaches poll, released on Friday.

“It is what it is,” Hogan said. “I think we were a better team than that. It’s good; it’s a step in the right direction, but we’re nowhere near where we want to be yet, but we’re getting there. Next year will be even better.”

Slots 1-19 were determined by the national tournament results, and 20-25 were voted on. Arizona finished above one team that played in the 20-team national tournament, according to John Carroll.

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Arizona finished No. 16 in the final computer poll, ahead of Navy, Rutgers and Rhode Island, teams that made the tournament instead of Arizona.

“I think that’s probably more accurate, just in my opinion,” Hogan said. “I felt like that’s kind of where we were throughout the whole year — the teams we beat, the teams we lost to — so I think the computer ranking’s pretty accurate.”

The Wildcats had the third-toughest schedule in the nation and will play another tough schedule next season.

“It’ll be about the same,” Hogan said.

Next year, Arizona will be a charter member of the Western Collegiate Hockey League with ASU, Colorado, Colorado State, Oklahoma and Central Oklahoma in the conference’s inaugural season. Arizona will play CU, CSU, OU and UCO three times each.

Arizona will play ASU “a lot of times,” Hogan said, laughing.

The arch rivals will play each semester: Four home, four away, four conference and four non-conference.

In other out-of-conference games, UA is tentatively scheduled to play Iowa State, California, national champion Minot State, Liberty, 2012 national champion Delaware and a Canadian school.

Wildcats start off season workouts

Last week Arizona started off season workouts at Bear Down Gym.

Hogan said the Wildcats get the first part of the offseason off. Then, they have “structured workouts” as a team three days a week. During the summer, the players get “hockey specific” workout plans.

The ACHA doesn’t regulate how much the players can work out during the offseason.

“We don’t have that kind of stuff, so it’s great,” Hogan said. “No recording minutes or anything.”

Murmes has surgery

Junior forward Andrew Murmes had hip surgery after the season ended.

“He’s OK; he’s doing really well,” Hogan said. “It was a couple days before our banquet, and he came to the banquet — he was there — so things are going good for him. He should be 100 percent.”
No other Wildcats had offseason surgeries, Hogan said.

Wildcats vote on team awards

Murmes was named Wildcat Hockey MVP by his teammates for the second straight season at last month’s banquet.

Defenseman Bryan Drazner was selected as Wildcat Hockey Rookie of the Year, while junior forward Eric Watters got the Wildcat Hockey Pride, Hustle and Desire Award. Sophomore forward Mike Ferreira and freshman goalie Dylan Hojnacki were named Wildcat Hockey’s Most Improved Players.


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