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Icecats earn weekend split with OT thriller

CHRIS CODUTO/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Arizona senior defenseman Keith Mitchell is held up while trying to reach for the puck during the No. 16 Icecats' two-game, weekend split with No. 4 Lindenwood.
By James Kelley
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, January 20, 2004
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In their weekend series with No. 4 Lindenwood, the Arizona Icecats showed they weren't going to go down without a fight.

But after a split, they may be shorthanded against No. 8 Weber State because of a large postgame brawl.

After No. 16 Arizona's (9-7-2) 5-2 loss to the Lions (24-2-1) on Saturday in TCC Arena, a large fight broke out in which an Icecat worker had to be restrained by police and a Lindenwood assistant coach went into the locker room with a wet back after falling on the ice. Afterward, a security guard said he caught an LU coach trying to hit fans with a stick, which prompted the guard to call the police.

As a result of the melee, the Icecats are expected to be shorthanded Friday at Weber State.

"You've got to be kidding me," said Icecats head coach Leo Golembiewski. "It's not possible. We're going to have four or five guys out. It's not a possibility. Depending on what penalties the officials call, we'll see how many are benched."

The fight started when freshman forward Dave Cwik was hit with a stick by a Lions player, prompting the already-empty benches to start fighting.

Golembiewski said it doesn't matter who started it.

"It makes no difference: It takes two to tango," he said.

After junior forward Shaun Brooks tied the game in the second period Saturday, Lindenwood scored three goals in the third to avenge Friday's loss. Cwik scored the first UA goal, a short-handed one, in the first period to even the score after LU scored a short-handed goal of its own to take an early lead.

"I thought we played pretty well most of the game. We made some key mistakes, and they capitalized on every one of them," Golembiewski said. "We're very pleased with the weekend. All in all, I thought the kids showed heart the whole 120 minutes, so that's what makes a dramatic plus."

"We don't have any complaints when it comes to the weekend in the context of heart and hard work," Golembiewski added.

On Friday, the Icecats handed the Lions a rare defeat, vitally important for Arizona as it tries to move up the rankings into the top 13 and into the national ACHA tournament. This weekend, the Icecats visit Weber State, followed by a pair at No. 19 ASU.

"We said we have to at least split against these guys this weekend, and we did. The next step now is Weber State," Golembiewski said.

The UA's win Friday came in overtime. After the Icecats led by two goals, they surrendered three in a row, the latest at the 17:15 mark of the third period.

At the end of regulation, Arizona pulled its goalie, and sophomore forward Cole Dunlop scored the tying goal, his second of the night, with 12 seconds left.

Then, 40 seconds into overtime, sophomore forward Brian Pollock scored the walk-off goal, his first game-winner.

"There was such a dramatic high after (Friday) night's victory. I think our guys were exhausted after (Friday) night's games a little bit," Golembiewski said. "But I still think we played a pretty good, solid game."

After the Icecats fell behind early on in the first period of the second game, junior forward Don Holtz, who had five points in the two games, scored a flashy unassisted goal.

Thanks to Pollock's other two goals, Dunlop's goal and one by junior forward Dave Lawrence, the UA built a two-goal lead that quickly evaporated on back-to-back goals by the Lions - less than 15 seconds apart - both off of deflections.

"I'm just thinking to myself, 'Holy cow, we haven't had a lot of bounces this year,' but I think if there ever was a doubt of what Icecat hockey is, the fans that (were there) saw what 25 years of hockey is," Golembiewski said.

"For all the people that don't love this program and don't regard this program with respect, this victory's for you."

In the second period, the Icecats dominated the Lions, scoring two goals to break a 2-2 tie.

"We played the greatest second period of the year," Golembiewski said. "We showed we got a pretty gosh darn good hockey team."

The Icecats now go on a road trip to Weber State, ASU and Oklahoma before their last series of the year, Feb. 20 and 21 against the Sun Devils at home.

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