National powers wait in wings as Icecats face off against Colorado

By Craig Degel

Arizona Daily Wildcat

In The Wizard of Oz, the Scarecrow warned his companions that, "It's going to get darker before it gets lighter."

The Arizona Icecats should heed that warning when they face the Colorado Buffaloes tonight and tomorrow at 7:30 at the Tucson Convention Center.

The Buffaloes certainly wouldn't be considered a "lesser" team on any other schedule, but in the coming weeks, the Icecats will face defending national champion Ohio, Michigan-Dearborn, Iowa State and Illinois. All four were national-championship tournament teams last year. The Icecats also will face Arizona State in that stretch, Dec. 8-9 in Tucson.

"We have Arizona State," Icecat coach Leo Golembiewski said. "What more can you say about that?"

The Icecats have a 61-game winning streak going against the Ice Devils, a streak that Golembiewski says his team "has no interest in."

Also looming on the schedule is last year's American Collegiate Hockey Association Division II champion Colorado State. Winning the Division II crown prompts an automatic move to Division I.

"It's a great schedule," Golembiewski said.

Still, the Icecats (2-0) should have no trouble concentrating on the matter at hand. They are coming off two blowout wins over the Stanford Cardinal, but the Buffaloes should prove to be a tougher test for the young Icecats.

Arizona most likely will continue to rotate its two goalies, freshman Kevin Keady and redshirt freshman Joel Hilshey.

The Icecats probably could have used a cardboard cutout in goal and still have beaten the Cardinal, who got off just 13 shots Oct. 27 in a 14-3 loss to Arizona. Hilshey faced 32 shots Saturday night and turned away 27 as the Icecats cruised to a 13-5 win.

"We have nine or 10 strong defensemen," Golembiewski said.

What the defensemen may lack in intimidating size just three defensmen weigh 200 pounds they make up for with superior speed, a trademark of Golembiewski's teams.

Not only are the Icecats' defensemen strong in the defending zone, but they have made their presence felt in the attacking zone as well. Chris Noga and Mark Thawley have put up offensive numbers during the young season.

Both games will be broadcast live by KTKT-AM 990.

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