Arizona Daily Wildcat February 20, 1998
Icecats battle ASU in regular season finaleThe announcement came just before practice.
It came to a team that had just dropped a crucial game on the road. It came to a team with a losing record - a team that was running out of hope.
And it came as a complete surprise.
"Our chins were hitting the floor," freshman left-wing Paul Dorn said.
But it was a good kind of surprise.
"I was pretty excited," freshman right-wing Marc Harris said. "We kept hearing we might get in, and when we finally did we all got excited. It's why we play the whole season."
Harris and Dorn play for the Arizona Icecats club hockey team, and they and their teammates found out last week that the American Collegiate Hockey Association had just invited them to play in the national tournament for the 14th consecutive year.
The Icecats (16-7-1) made the tournament when Arizona State was suspended for the use of an ineligible player.
"I think it's still an accomplishment," Dorn said. "They were cheating all season and they got caught. It's fate that we got in because they screwed up."
Before the tournament starts in Ames, Iowa, in two weeks, the Icecats must take care of one last piece of business.
That business just happens to be the Ice Devils.
The two teams hit the ice tonight and tomorrow night at 7:30 at the Tucson Convention Center. Both games are the regular season series finale for the teams, but while Arizona will be moving on to the tournament, ASU will be going home.
"We need to try to win these two games to prove to everyone we belong (in the tournament)," Harris said.
Arizona lost four straight to ASU before the Ice Devils were suspended and forced to forfeit the four wins.
Dorn said there is "no doubt" the Icecats will be fired up to beat ASU.
"These games are going to be a war," Icecat head coach Leo Golembiewski said. "They're going to be emotional as well as physical. They're (ASU) going to be thinking about what could have been. There's always going to be bragging rights on the line whenever we play each other."
The Icecats are coming home after playing their last five games on the road, going 4-1 on the trips to Phoenix, Colorado and Delaware.
Last weekend Arizona swept Colorado 13-1 and 11-4, with Harris (26 goals, 30 assists) scoring a hat trick in the first win.