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Thursday November 30, 2000

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Icecats face in-state rivals, Ice Devils

Headline Photo

By Chris Suffecool

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Arizona playing well, expects tough games

The Arizona Icecats have not lost a game in more than a month, a time during which they have played a lot of games.

The No. 7 Icecats (11-1 overall) are 10-0 in their last 10 games - including tournament victories, the team is 15-0 since an Oct. 22 loss to Saint Louis University.

The Icecats can keep its streak alive and close out the first half of the season on a positive note with a wins against Arizona State (11-5-1) tomorrow and Saturday night at the Tucson Convention Center.

"It's really important for us," junior forward Mike Graves said. "We obviously want to carry momentum into the next semester. We'd like to try to win the rest of the season outright and take that into nationals."

Victories against the Ice Devils will not be an easy task for the Icecats.

"Every game against ASU is a tough one," Graves said. "(The games are) always really physical, always really close, always really intense."

According to the UA players, the Arizona-ASU match-up is more meaningful than most other games.

"They're the first games I look for on the schedule at the beginning of the season," senior forward Paul Dorn said. "Since I've been here, (an) UA-ASU hockey game has never really let me down. We still have got to look at it like a regular hockey game, (but) it's in the back of everyone's mind that it's ASU and that they're our big rival."

The Ice Devils have won five of its last six games, but dropped two games to the Southern California earlier in the season. Arizona beat USC, 8-0, to win the Fire and Ice Saga International Tournament in Iceland last week.

The Sun Devils are currently unranked in the ACHA rankings.

Despite ASU's futility early in the season, senior forward Kyle McNeilance said all bets are off during a rivalry game.

"You kind of throw out the rankings when you play a rival team like that," McNeilance said. "I would expect it to be a tough game no matter what."

After this weekend's games, the Icecats are off until Jan. 5, when Saint Louis University comes to town for a rematch with the Icecats.

The puck drops at 7:30 both nights. Tomorrow night, the Icecats will be presented with their Fire and Ice Saga Invitational championship trophy just prior to the puck dropping.

Chris Suffecool can be reached at