The Wildcats have started this season with their share of adversity, and Friday night at NAU, it showed.
Due to the early season limited practice ice, Friday night’s game marked only the fifth time this group has been on the ice together. While also battling the altitude, the Wildcats had a rough first period full of sloppy play and missed assignments. Essentially, they looked like a group with limited practice time.
As a result, only six minutes into the game NAU jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, shocking the Wildcats and causing Coach Berman to use an early timeout.
“It felt like dejavu from the National Tournament,” said Coach Berman. “Obviously it’s not the way we wanted to start but what I liked the most about that tough beginning was the way we responded. The bench never felt deflated or defeated like we may have last year. I think we have a group that believes in what we are doing, so it was a good to see how far we have come with our competitive maturity.”
“I had to keep reminding myself that the mistakes were a result of not being able to practice those things yet. In the end, we found a way to win and that’s what really matters. I was proud of the way we battled through with a ‘gutsy’ performance on a night we weren’t very sharp; understandably so.”
After the timeout, the Wildcats came storming back with four unanswered goals from: John Hogan, Robbie Wilkinson, Matt Armenti, and Toppie Hogan.
“We got better every period,” said Coach Berman. “As a coach, this early in the season, all I am really watching for is what do we need to work on. We have a lot to improve, and we will. The good news is, I can’t teach the kind of character and fight these kids showed. That has to come from within and it’s a great reflection of the growth in our programs culture.”
The Wildcats kick off their home opening weekend on October 7th and 8th against NAU. Friday night’s game will feature the first "1-2-3 Friday" promotion($1 small sodas, $2 hot dogs and $3 dollar domestic beers) and $2 student tickets with a valid CatCard. Make sure to come early and catch the ‘new look’ Arizona Wildcats.
In addition, on Sunday, October 9th, the Arizona Coyotes NHL team will have a mixed scrimmage with the Tucson Roadrunners AHL team at the TCC. The game starts at 1:00pm. Tickets will be free for this game but they are asking for a $5 donation with all proceeds going towards the University of Arizona Hockey program!