The snow did not get in the way of the Arizona Wildcats hockey team today, as they defeated the Arizona State Sun Devils by a score of 4-0 to claim the Cactus Cup. The Cup is awarded to the winner of the rivalry series each year, with the Wildcats’ win on Friday night marking their fifth over the Sun Devils this year.
The first period was highlighted by the hatred between the two rivals as both teams accounted for three penalties. The ‘Cats were finally able to muster a goal with 13:20 in the period, with forward Ethan Stahlhuth, giving Arizona an early 1-0 lead. Kyle Wade made the score 2-0 when he scored his seventh in the year, with the ‘Cats able to hold off the Sun Devils' two power play opportunities in the period to take a 2-0 lead into the first intermission.
Although there was no scoring in this period, there was quite a bit of work for Wildcat goalie Anthony Ciurro, as he was able to stop anything in sight from the Sun Devil attack. Ciurro led the way with 28 saves on 28 shots for the game and has proven throughout the year to be a driving force for the ‘Cats.
The third period brought two more goals for the Wildcats and ultimately put the nail in the Sun Devil's coffin. Stahlhuth scored again at the 9:45 mark in the period, with Wade also getting his second goal of the night at 15:58. The two goals put the game away with the dominant play from Ciurro, and the ‘Cats were able to hoist the Cactus Cup.
Head Coach Chad Berman spoke about what it means for the Wildcats to take home the cup.
“Winning the Cactus Cup is what we expect to do,” Berman said. “Next weekend we are going after the conference championship.”
The game tonight against Arizona State did not count as a league game for the Wildcats, so they were unable to clinch the conference championship. The team hits the road next weekend to play at ASU, which will count for two league games in which the Wildcats can claim the conference championship.
There is still one more home game with the Sun Devils on Sunday afternoon at the Tucson Convention Center. The game will take place at 4 p.m.
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