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Icecats finish season above .500, miss playoffs

CHRIS CODUTO/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Icecats senior goalie Bryan Aronchick lies in angst as the puck sits in the back of the net during overtime. With the goal, ASU beat the Icecats, ending Aronchick's career with the team.
By Kyle Kensing
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, February 21, 2005
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The 2004-2005 season ended for the Arizona men's club hockey team this weekend the same way it began in the Tucson Convention Center Arena - with a pair of losses to No. 11 ASU.

The Icecats (13-12-1) dropped a pair of games to the American Collegiate Hockey Association national tournament-bound Sun Devils (18-6) 6-3 Friday and 5-4 Saturday in two games head coach Leo Golembiewski said were indicative of the entire season.

"The kids didn't get a lot of breaks this season," he said. "But I'm very proud of this team."

Senior forward Shaun Brooks, one of five Icecats who played his last game Saturday night, helped ignite a 3-goal first period en route to the Icecats leading 55 of 60 minutes in regulation.

"It felt good to get those first two goals real quickly," Brooks said.

Brooks notched two goals in the first frame, both off assists from fellow senior winger Don Holtz and junior Tim Wochok.

Holtz produced offensively again in the period, answering a goal by ASU's Steve Hipskind with a score to make it 3-1.

The Icecats went on a scoring drought that lasted the entire second and most of the third periods, but the defense and senior goaltender Bryan Aronchick maintained the advantage.

ASU forward Tony Biffignani struck twice in the second and third periods, evening the score at 3.

Arizona freshman defenseman Max Sliwinski broke the cold spell with 29 seconds remaining when he took the puck coast-to-coast for a score.

A goal by ASU's Richard Kenanrey with four seconds left in regulation sent the game to overtime.

"I didn't think it'd go to overtime," Brooks said. "It's still a blur."

"It's sad because we could have won that face-off," Golembiewski said of the draw that led to Kenanrey's goal.

"That's just the way hockey is," he said.

"It was a real barnburner, sometimes it just happens like that," senior defenseman Kevin Mitchell said.

ASU forward Scott Jacko completed the Sun Devil comeback in overtime with a goal to give his team the sweep heading into Bensenville, Ill., site of this year's ACHA Tournament. Arizona's season ended for only the second time without a trip to nationals.

"These guys played their hearts out for 60 minutes," Golembiewski said. "If we can play this tough as undermanned as we were all semester, it says a lot."

Arizona was without senior co-captain Mickey Meehan for the final 10 games because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

Fellow co-captain, junior Mike Pelletier, missed the last seven games because of a severe concussion.

Mitchell said the void left by Meehan and Pelletier was a tough one to fill.

Among the games the two missed was Friday night's 6-3 loss to the same ASU team.

Arizona led 1-0 at the end of the first period, but a four-goal Sun Devil second period sparked ASU to a 6-3 win.

Shaun Brooks scored Arizona's first goal in the loss, with Holtz and freshman center Craig Irwin providing the next two scores.

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