By Kyle Kensing
EVAN CARAVELLI/Arizona Daily Wildcat
UA junior defenseman Mike Pelletier leads an Icecat rush during a game earlier this season in Tucson Convention Center Arena.
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, November 19, 2004
The No. 20 UA Icecats return home to the Tucson Convention Center tonight to play Texas Tech at 7:30, fresh off a pair of road wins last weekend.
Icecat head coach Leo Golembiewski said that although Texas Tech is new to the American Collegiate Hockey Association, he expects them to be competitive.
"They're coming off two close games against Oklahoma," he said. "They've beat everyone with the exception of two top teams (OU and No. 4 Lindenwood). They're a solid team."
UA (3-4-1) is coming off a sweep of St. Louis on the road last week and hopes to continue its win streak tonight, as well as tomorrow at 7 p.m.
"The sweep was important," Golembiewski said. "To go halfway around the country and still play well shows the character of this team.
"We started out of the gate kind of slow, but we'll just keep getting better. We know we're a top-10 team," he added. "Emanating from the desert, we start a month after some of the other teams (in the Midwest and east coast)."
Last week's opponent, St. Louis, had played 16 games to Arizona's six, while prior opponents Lehigh and Weber State both had six and four more games under their belts, respectively.
Golembiewski said now that the young team has more experience to its credit, it can focus on winning games.
"Our shooting's improved," he said. "We outshot St. Louis 99-47. It's something we'll continue to work on."
Arizona's offense has picked up since its season opener. After scoring just three goals their first two outings, the Icecats have posted 30 goals in the last six games.
Leading the offensive resurgence is senior Mickey Meehan.
Seeing time at center and left wing, Meehan has lit the goal lamp 12 times thus far.
UA's youngsters have also played a big role in the team's offensive production. Defenseman Doug Wilson leads the team in assists, while left wing and center Craig Irwin and defenseman Max Sliwinski have both made key contributions.
Defensively, senior Keith Mitchell has lived up to his reputation as an aggressive blue-line force.
Junior Mike Pelletier has produced both at the blue line and on offense. He scored a goal last week at St. Louis, and as Golembiewski put it, "quarterbacks" the Icecat attack.
A problem Golembiewski hopes to have solved this weekend is UA's lackluster play in the second period.
In eight second periods thus far, UA has allowed 17 goals. However, in their last outing, UA dominated the second, holding SLU scoreless.
"Every team has different nuances," Golembiewski said of the Icecats' second-period woes. "We hope that's something we won't have to address, but we'll continue working on it."
While Arizona's main goal this weekend is a sweep of the Red Raiders, Golembiewski said the Icecats are focused on the details.
"We'll play a shift at a time, a period at a time, and a game at time," he said.