UA hockey hosts Michigan State Spartans for two-game series

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Rebecca Noble and | The Daily Wildcat

Arizona hockey right wing Matt Reed (10) pats goalie Austin Wilson (33) on the head after Arizona's 3-1 win against Colorado on Saturday at the Tucson Convention Center. The Wildcats match up with Michigan State twice over the weekend.

No. 16 Arizona Wildcats hockey (4-0-9) host the American Collegiate Hockey Association Division II Spartans of Michigan State University (6-0-3) this weekend.

“Michigan State is a very competitive team,” UA hockey head coachChad Berman said. “They only have three losses this year and they are to Division I teams, all of which were close games.”

Trevor McSween and Jacob Peacock lead the Spartans in scoring with 10 points each.

All three of Michigan State’s goalies — Brent Schwarz, Eric Matych and Karl Langhans — record saving percentages above .90. Schwarz starts between the poles for the Spartans with 188 total career saves.

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Arizona snapped a six-game losing streak on Saturday night after beating Colorado 4-2. However, the Wildcats still have room for improvement on the offensive side.

“This week, we worked on getting to the net and having better execution on our three-on-twos,” Berman said. “We need to find ways to generate more offense. We also are building on some of our power-play options. The power-play hasn’t been terribly productive, but it is getting better every week. We are getting better opportunities, more shots and better puck movement. This week, we intend to add a third unit to increase competition and give us another look.”

Arizona has struggled tremendously on its power play this season. Thursday night, the Wildcats went 1 for 9 during power plays after they lost to Colorado State 2-3.

“Our power play was struggling the past couple weeks, but we’ve been working on it recently in practice, running a few new plays and working on getting shots through,” captain Shane Gleason said. “We just need to keep it simple and shoot the puck when we have the chance; that’s what we’ll be doing this weekend against Michigan State.”

On Saturday night, freshman goalie Austin Wilson made his debut with 29 for 30 shot saves.

Freshman Alex Nespor leads Arizona in scoring with 10 points from six goals and four assists.

Alex O’Dea comes in second in scoring for the Wildcats with nine points. O’Dea will not be playing this weekend after he suffered an injury last weekend against Colorado. 

Puck drops Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Tucson Convention Center.

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