Newark, DE Arizona almost staged an epic comeback being down 4-0 in the second period to #18 Illinois. The Wildcats battled all the way back; but eventually fell just short 4-3.
Illinois opened the scoring on a goal by Cody Von Rueden with 4:02 left in the first period and scored again on a 5 on 3 power play with only 5 seconds left in the first to take 2-0 lead after one period of play.
"I felt we were carrying the play in the first period but could not capitalize on our chances," stated head coach Sean Hogan.
Steven Sisler started the game but was relieved by freshman Garret Patrick after making 12 saves on 14 shots.
"I thought it was time to make a move for momentum, we needed a spark to get going," Hogan added.
Illinois came out firing on all cylinders in the second period scoring two power play goals in the first five minutes of the period to widen the lead to 4-0. At that point the Wildcats called time out to regroup, and netted a quick goal from Brendan Parker to cut the deficit to 4-1.
It was all Wildcats in the third period, netting two goals off the stick of Ansel Ivens-Anderson but fell just short, putting numerous pucks on net in the final minutes.
Arizona was 0-3 on the power play, Illinois was 3-7 on power play, a statistic that proved to turn the game.
"At the end of the day I think we had some penalty trouble, and dug ourselves a hole, we showed heart battling all the way back and I think we can be proud of that fact," stated Hogan.