Icecats set for foe in opener
Few teams like to start the season playing a tough opponent.
The Arizona Icecats are one of those few teams.
The Icecats open their 20th season with No. 9 Minot State (0-2) coming to town tonight and tomorrow night at 7:30 at the Tucson Convention Center.
"This is a tremendous test," Icecat head coach Leo Golembiewski said. "You can't get much better than this."
The Beavers come in having lost two close games at national power Iowa State last week, 8-3 and 8-5.
"The way the refereeing is up there, it's real homer-dome," Golembiewski said. "It's worth two goals, at least, so those were really close games."
MSU and the Icecats are no strangers to one another. The two teams slammed together last year in Tucson, splitting the two games between them.
The Icecats won 8-6 after dropping the first game 8-7, with both games marred by penalties and fighting. Golembiewski said the Beavers' style of play hasn't changed much.
"They're big kids," he said. "Their defense is pretty big. They've got nine kids from Canada who do like to rough you up. We're hoping to counter with our quickness."
Golembiewski said his philosophy should keep the number of fights down this year.
"I've told them I don't believe in fisticuffs as part of the game," he said.
Rather than stand and fight, the Icecats plan to run and shoot.
Arizona will start a line with a trio of high-scoring sophomores, center Marc Harris, left-wing Paul Dorn and right-wing Mike Graves, all of whom have the speed Golembiewski spoke of.
Manning the nets for Arizona this year is junior transfer Mark Meister. He takes over for junior Mike Tesi, who was chased from the second game last year by the Beavers.
Sophomore Tyler Brush and senior Tommy Thompson are the defenders on the Harris line.
"Minot State can't afford two losses at Arizona," Golembiewski said. "But neither can Arizona."
Chris Jackson can be reached via e-mail at Chris.Jackson@wildcat.arizona.edu.