Last-minute goal helps Icecats earn split with Dearborn

By Craig Degel
Arizona Daily Wildcat
January 22, 1996

Charles C. Labenz
Arizona Daily Wildcat

Freshman center Ben Ruston fights for position in the Icecats' 5-4 win over Michigan-Dearborn Saturday night. Ruston had three assists in the game.


Sixty minutes of physical, hard-nosed hockey came down to 10 seconds of fancy stickwork last Saturday night.

With just over a minute remaining in the game, the No. 6 Icecats (14-4) and the 10th-ranked Michigan-Dearborn Wolves (15-7-2) were tied at four. At that point, Icecat freshman center Ben Ruston took the puck in his own zone and skated up the ice. Ruston f aked out his defender and passed the puck to a breaking Peter Scott, who used a stick fake on goalie Mark Tapp and slid the puck in for the score and the 5-4 win.

"I had a shot like that earlier in the game," Scott said. "This time I buried it."

Friday night, Michigan-Dearborn beat the Icecats 6-4.

The 5,553 in attendance at the Tucson Convention Center bore witness to a bizarre hockey game that saw the Icecats explode to a 4-1 lead only to see it whittled away by the persistent Wolves.

The Icecats got on the board just 36 seconds into the game when Sam Battaglia fed Brian Consolino for the score.

Four minutes later, Scott gave the Icecats a 2-0 lead when Michigan-Dearborn failed to clear the puck and it found its way onto Scott's stick.

A power-play goal let the Wolves back into the game. At 8:19 in the first, junior Matt Henderson got free behind the Icecat defense and deflected Kevin Stempin's shot past Icecat goalie Joel Hilshey.

Then at 12:24, the game got out of hand. Ruston got his second assist of the game when Battaglia scored on a 2-on-1 break. For his efforts, Battaglia was thrown into the boards, setting off a fight while he lay on the ice with a separated shoulder.

The incident prompted something people don't normally see in hockey - a coach on the ice.

Icecat coach Leo Golembiewski walked out to center ice to let the referees know how he felt about the situation.

"I went out to see Sammy, but he got up faster than I thought so I told them that it was a deliberate intent to injure and I think the flagrant B.S. is not appropriate," he said.

Dearborn junior Dave Wallace was given a five-minute major for boarding and a game disqualification. Icecat Andy Knick and Wolves junior forward Dan Imperati were both given four-minute double minors for their participation in the fight.

Battaglia has had a chronic dislocation problem with his shoulder, Golembiewski said, and the team is unsure when or if he will return.

Icecat freshman Brian Meehan capitalized on another bad clearing pass to give the Icecats a 4-1 lead at 14:36 in the first.

Then with eight seconds left in the period, the Wolves put a shorthanded goal past Hilshey and the Icecats went into the intermission leading 4-2. The score remained unchanged until about halfway through the third period when another bizarre play turned i nto the Wolves' third goal.

Senior Alex Contreraz sent the puck along the boards into the Icecat zone and Hilshey left the net to control the puck for his defenders. But instead of the puck rolling safely to Hilshey, it caromed in front of the open net and Matt Henderson finished th e play.

"We're calling that one the Vince Gill goal," Golembiewski said, referring to a concert Gill held at the TCC earlier in the week, forcing the crew to rush to get the playing surface ready for the weekend.

Freshman Dan Hunt tied the game at four with just over five minutes remaining, setting the stage for Scott's game-winner.