By Larry Mullenix
Arizona Daily Wildcat
For the estimated 9,408 screaming Tucson fans, this weekend's Icecat series showed them two different worlds of hockey exhibition.
In Friday's home opener, the Arizona club hockey team and Cal played a smooth skating game that was easy to watch.
Although the Icecats' passing game was not exactly flawless, the UA was still able to take a commanding 3-0 lead after the first period on goals by defensemen Chris Noga and Ricky Pope, as well as a goal by freshmen center Ryan Rockabrand, his first as an Icecat. Senior goaltender Dennis Hands had two great saves in the period to shut California out.
Sophomore left-winger Sam Battaglia handled the scoring in the second period by himself, scoring two goals around the lone Cal goal of the period and game by Mike Kim.
The third period was scoreless until Rockabrand scored his second goal with just over two minutes left in the game.
Although the Icecats showed their dominance in scoring chances by out-shooting the Bears 53-25, the Icecats failed to enforce their style of game upon the Bears.
"We played a dismal second period tonight just like we did against Arizona State," Icecat coach Leo Golembiewski said of the game's tempo. "We were reacting to them rather than the opposite.
"We have a long way to go if we are going to have the type of season that we want to have. We had a lot of shots but the caliber and selection of the shots has to improve."
There were positives, such as the play of Rockabrand along with the play of the fourth line.
The second game was reminiscent of the great boxing matches between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier.
There were approximately 160 penalty minutes between the two teams, along with a total of 20 goals. But unfortunately for the Bears, 16 of the goals were scored against them.
Cal scored two goals in the first period, but they allowed five goals in the process. Icecats Mark Thawley, Jeremy Walters, Peter Scott, Battaglia and Noga all had a goal in the period. The second was more of the same, with pushing and shoving going on after every whistle. The Icecats scored four more times while Hands allowed only one puck to pass him during the second 20 minutes. Greg Mitchell scored to open the period and Joel Nusbaum scored to end it to make the score 9-3 after two.
Noga scored two more goals in
the third period, including the all-important Whataburger goal to get the first Icecat hat trick of the season. Kevin Oztekin, Scott Hutchings, Joyce, Kip Holmes and Scott rounded out the scoring for the Icecats to end the game at 16-4.
"Teams look at us and see that we aren't that big, so they think they can just push us around," Golembiewski said. "They learn that we can mix it up with the best of them really quickly."
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