By Anthony Tarnowski
Jacob Konst/Arizona Daily Wildcat
A fight erupts on the ice between the Arizona Icecats and the Oklahoma Sooners on Saturday in the Tucson Convention Center Arena. The Icecats split their series with the Sooners, with a 6-3 win Friday followed by a 5-1 loss Saturday.
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, November 21, 2005
Offense hot, cold over weekend
The Arizona men's club ice hockey team split its series with No. 19 Oklahoma over the weekend in the Tucson Convention Center Arena.
The No. 13 Icecats lost 5-1 Saturday night after fighting their way to a 6-3 win on Friday.
"It was the four-letter word: life," Arizona head coach Leo Golembiewski said. "(Saturday)'s game was just life. You throw everything at them, and you've got nothing to show for it."
A complete opposite of Friday night's game, the Icecats (8-3) again came out flying all over the ice but this time couldn't cash in early scoring opportunities.
Co-captain Mike Pelletier turned the puck over during an Arizona power play with less than two minutes left in the first period.
Sooner Matt Pangrac picked up the puck in front of the Icecats' net and beat Arizona goaltender Luke Edwall for the first score of the game.
Oklahoma (7-5-2) struck again three minutes into the second period to put the Icecats in an early 2-0 hole.
"That's what hockey is. It's a great teacher," Golembiewski said. "(Saturday) was one of those days you wake up on the wrong side of the bed and with a flat tire, but I'm proud of the kids."
Arizona found itself in and out of the penalty box all night and couldn't seem to find a rhythm in the final two periods.
Freshman Robbie Nowinski provided the only goal for the Icecats during a second-period power play, briefly bringing the Icecats within a goal at 2-1.
Golembiewski talked Wednesday about Oklahoma's physical style, and Friday night's game was a perfect example of it. The Sooners came out hitting hard and as the game went on, tempers flared.
Arizona freshman Matt Conover and Oklahoma's Danny Force were given game misconducts in the third period, in a game where the penalty boxes were full all night for both sides.
"It happens - both teams played physical. But when people are hitting goalies, there's going to be some fists flying," said Icecats co-captain Cole Dunlop on Friday.
Arizona thought its speed would be an advantage against the bigger Oklahoma squad, and Friday night it was.
"We need our speed and quickness, but I thought we threw the body pretty well," Golembiewski said.
A five-minute major penalty on Oklahoma's Laddy Tresl was the turning point in Friday's game, as the Icecats played five-on-four hockey for the next five minutes and scored two goals to take a decisive 3-2 lead.
Freshman forward Robbie Nowinski scored early into the penalty time off passes from Conover and Dunlop.
Conover, a freshman forward, also assisted on Mike Pelletier's goal, the Icecats' second, while Tresl was forced to cool his heels from the penalty box.
Forwards Craig Irwin, Tom Connell, Dave Cwik and Cody Morin accounted for the other goals in Friday's game, as Arizona fought through a lot of after-the-whistle activity, including much pushing and shoving, for the win.
"Bottom line is, our guys played a good 60 minutes overall," Golembiewski said Friday. "Edwall was sharp in the nets. It was a huge victory for the guys. They deserve all the credit in the world."
The Icecats continue their third weekend of an eight-game homestand Dec. 2-3 against Weber State.