Arizona hockey’s hopes of making the national tournament seem slicker than the weather in Boulder, Colo., after a three-game sweep from two Colorado Women’s Central Hockey League league-mates over the weekend.
The Wildcats lost to No. 18 Colorado 6-4 on Thursday night, and No. 21 Colorado State sealed the sweep with an 8-5 win on Friday night and 3-0 shutout on Saturday.
“We knew we were going to have some growing pains this year with a coaching change and so many new players,” Arizona captain Shane Gleason said. “It’s unfortunate for us upperclassmen that we missed out on the national tournament this year, but hopefully we have groomed the young guys well enough this season so they can have success in the near future.”
Arizona jumped out to an early three-goal lead on Thursday night against the Colorado Buffaloes during the first period.
Goals from Brian “Toppie” Hogan, Anthony Rosetta and Kyle Griffin gave Arizona hope in ending its four-game losing streak as the first period ended 3-0.
Colorado completely dominated the second period, as the Buffaloes scored four unanswered goals to take the lead. Arizona’s Roy Grandov scored the equalizer with 16 seconds left in the period.
Buffs’ George Gruber and Matt Anders both scored in the third to beat the Wildcats 6-4.
“The past weekend was the epitome of our season where we let one bad period ruin the whole 60 minutes for us,” Gleason said. “The mental toughness aspect of the game has been our biggest weakness this season, and it definitely hurt us once again.”
The Wildcats traveled to Fort Collins on Friday night to play a two-game matchup with the Colorado State Rams.
Arizona jumped out to an early 1-0 lead with a goal from Kyle Griffin. Freshman goaltender Austin Wilson appeared to be on his way to a first period shutout, but the Rams scored with 7:45 left and tied up the game at two with less than a minute remaining.
Like déjà vu, Arizona had the lead but could not hold it to end its losing streak. Colorado State outshot Arizona 54-42 to come away with an 8-5 win.
Arizona could not figure out their offense on Saturday night, and the Rams scored three goals late in the game.
Both teams came out flat as the first period ended with a score of 0-0. The Rams eventually found the back net to win 3-0 and end Arizona’s chance of making the national tournament.
“This weekend was another example of us not taking care of the details defensively,” Arizona head coach Chad Berman said. “On Friday and Saturday, we scored enough goals to win. Apparently, I am not doing a good enough job of getting guys to buy in. I will make sure we fix this immediately.”
Arizona has this weekend off to prepare for its last stretch of games. The Wildcats finish the season at home with a heated matchup against archrival ASU. The Wildcats will take on the Sun Devils in a two-game series on Feb. 20 and Feb. 21 in Tucson.
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