Arizona hockey exits postseason with first-round loss to Liberty
The Arizona Wildcats hockey team was knocked out of the first round of the American Collegiate Hockey Association National Tournament in a 7-2 defeat to Liberty University on Saturday, March 23, in Frisco, Texas. In a year where the Wildcats swept their rivals ASU and won the WCHL title, there were high expectations heading into the tournament, but UA was unable to make it past the first game.
The Wildcats hung around early, as Josh Larson gave them a goal to put the 'Cats up 1-0. Ryan Cox equalized the game for Liberty, making the score 1-1 at the end of the first period.
The second period is where it all went downhill for the 'Cats. Arizona gave up three quick goals and was never able to recover from the deficit. Three more goals allowed in the third proved to be too much for the team to overcome and put an end to an otherwise successful season.
Head coach Chad Berman spoke with team media director Timothy Gassen about the season coming to a close.
“Certainly we had a really good, young team, really only losing one good player this year to graduation, and we have accomplished a lot. But we want more, and we didn’t do enough, and I feel bad we didn’t represent our conference and our university better,” Berman said.
Senior Charlie James told Gassen he was thankful for the bond formed with his teammates.
“I mean, obviously tonight wasn’t the result we wanted, but I can’t say enough words [on] how thankful I am to have this year as my last year,” James said. “There are 29 other guys that I’m going to love for the rest of my life. This is a really, really special group of guys in that room, and as you can see, we accomplished some big things. And obviously this wasn’t the result we wanted at the end, but I would go to war at any day of the week with these guys. It’s been a really special season.”
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