By Brett Fera
JON HELGASON/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Junior Matt Naylor prepares to shoot against the Utah State goalie on Saturday. The Icecats play two games on the East Coast this weekend.
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday November 8, 2002
In pursuit of the team's first national title since 1985, the Icecats are sure of one thing during their quest this season ö to be the best, you have to beat the best.
The No. 8 Icecats (3-2) hoped to make truth of that claim this weekend, taking on two-time American Collegiate Hockey Association defending national champion Penn State and No. 4 Delaware, all part of the team's first road trip of the season.
Despite coming out hot off the opening faceoff last night, Icecat fortunes quickly cooled when Penn State managed to score on their first three shots of the game, propelling the Icers (9-0) to a 7-3 victory. Freshman forward Cole Dunlop and sophomore forward Shaun Brooks each scored for the Icecats, bringing the score to 6-2 at the end of two periods. Midway through the third, it looked as if the Icecats might make a run when freshman defenseman Mike Pelletier scored a shorthanded goal after intercepting a Penn State pass at the blueline and converting the breakaway opportunity. But Penn State quickly added another to finish off the scoring.
The Icecats look to regroup tonight following the tough defeat at the hands of the top-ranked Penn State squad.
In UA's last meeting with Delaware, the Icecats skated to a 4-3 overtime victor, during the opening round of the 2002 ACHA National Tournament in Maryland last February.
Delaware has had no shortage of offense so far this season, outscoring opponents 46-14 during the team's first 7 games. The Blue Hens are off to a 7-0 start, solidifying their place among the nation's best.
The current three-game trip comes on the heels of a four-game home stand for the Icecats, which included wins over ASU, 10-2 and 5-4, an overtime loss to Weber State, 4-3, and a victory over Utah State last Saturday, 12-3.
Defensively, the Icecats hope their letdown on Thursday will not carry over against Delaware. Aside from the early part of the Penn State game, sophomore goaltender Bryan Aronchick has been as solid as ever between the pipes, stopping 26 of 29 shots versus Weber State, and allowing just one goal on 17 shots in the blowout win over Utah State.
Leading the Icecats' offensive front is sophomore forward Mickey Meehan, who tallied three goals, along with three assists, in the split last weekend.
Junior forward Matt Naylor has also seen his name scattered among the scoring charts, scoring three goals of his own to go along with eight assists through the team's first four games.
Junior forward Andrew Fredericks and sophomore forward Don Holtz have also been scoring in bunches, as both players netted hat tricks in the series against ASU, along with a goal apiece against Utah State.
"The win against Utah State was a necessity, after the way we played against Weber State the day before," head coach Leo Golembiewski said. "We played four games at home, and definitely had a clear advantage. It is early in the season, and we have only played at home until this week, which is a definite advantage. If we get some consistency and keep up the intensity, we should come home successful after Delaware."