By Larry Mullenix
Arizona Daily Wildcat
The Arizona club hockey team went on the road to face the Colorado schools and had to get used to something it rarely sees: snow.
But that was about the only thing in the Icecats' path, as they took two games from Colorado and one from Colorado State, leaving the neighboring Rocky Mountain schools a little disoriented.
Thursday, the UA easily handled Colorado by scoring nine goals. Then, in the second game against the Buffaloes Friday night, Arizona netted nine more.
The Icecats got balanced production from both their offense and defense. The former was led by Ryan Rockabrand, Ethan Kaulas and Nate Soules, each of whom paced the Icecats by scoring two goals in the first game.
Friday, the Icecats were led by Steve Hutchings' hat trick and five other Icecats, who combined to score the UA's nine goals. Hutchings now has 42 goals on the year.
Arizona's goaltenders Ä Dennis Hands and new Icecat Joel Hilshey Ä both had solid games against CU. Hands had 20 saves against Colorado Friday while Hilshey made 29 stops against Colorado State (17-2-1) Saturday.
Hilshey's tough play was key, because the Icecats had been expecting trouble in Fort Collins. And although Colorado State's (17-2-1) only two losses were suffered at the hands of the UA at the Tucson Convention Center, it looked after the first period as though the Icecats' worries were justified.
Down 1-0 to the Rams after the first period Saturday, the Icecats scored six times in the second period, including Greg Mitchell's four consecutive goals.
Sam Battaglia scored to tie the game with just over three minutes before Mitchell scored the first of his goals.
Kevin Oztekin scored to make it 7-3 less than 30 seconds into the final period. Mitchell then added his fifth goal of the game, followed by a goal by Ricky Pope and Oztekin's second goal of the period, making the final score 10-3 and giving the Icecats a three-game sweep.
"As a coach you try not to judge a road trip by just the fact of winning or losing but by performance," Icecat coach Leo Golembiewski said. "Overall, this was the best trip for us in probably two or three years."
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