Arizona hockey readies for Stony Brook

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Kyle Hansen | The Daily Wildcat

Arizona hockey forward Griffin Dyne (13) takes the puck down the ice during Arizona's 3-1 loss to ASU at the Tucson Convention Center Arena on Dec. 6, 2014. The Wildcats take on Stony Brook this weekend in a two-game series.

Arizona ice hockey will look to continue its hot streak this weekend at home. No. 19 Arizona hosts No. 7 Stony Brook University in a two-game series this weekend at the Tucson Convention Center Arena.

“Stony Brook will be a very difficult challenge,” Arizona hockey coach Chad Berman said. “These games mean everything for us to get into the National Tournament. They are a team that plays the right way and grinds for 60 minutes. There is no such thing as a cheap win against this group. If we are going to be successful, we’re going to have to earn it. Hopefully, we will continue our momentum from last weekend.”

Stony Brook University (20-4) is on track to be the Champions of the Eastern States Collegiate Hockey League Playoffs for its third season in a row. Last season, the Seawolves made it to the semifinals of the ACHA National Tournament.

Stony Brook is led in scoring by Ryan Cotcamp with 34 points this season. Cotcamp has 16 goals and 18 assists, with six of his goals coming on the man advantage.

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Between the pipes for the Seawolves are Derek Willms and Brendan Jones. Both goalies have played 11 games each and serve as Stony Brook’s starting goalies. Willms has a save percentage of .96, and Jones holds a .92 save percentage.

“Stony Brook plays an aggressive, fast-played game,” UA defender Alex Vazquez said. “We have to play our game and match their speed and aggressiveness, which is exactly our style of play, and most importantly, play disciplined.”

Arizona (11-16) snapped a six-game losing streak last weekend at home with a complete, two-game sweep of the Division II Utah Utes.

Although Arizona’s offense had been in a bit of a slump, the Wildcats found their rhythm against Utah. Arizona’s offense was at a high point, scoring eight goals in two games and allowing only one goal into its own net.

“Last weekend was a good step in the right direction, especially in getting some confidence back to make a good push here at the end of the season,” UA forward Griffin Dyne said. “Stony Brook is a good test for us, and if we can stick to our defensive game, pay attention to the small details and keep our game simple, we should have a very successful home weekend here.”

The Wildcats’ penalty kill has been a strong part of their defense during the past two weeks, killing 11 of 11 penalties just last weekend.

Arizona will dedicate Saturday night’s game to the fight against breast cancer and hope to put cancer in the penalty box for good. Puck drops Friday and Saturday night at 7:30 p.m.

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