The Arizona Wildcats hockey team finally plays at home this upcoming weekend after opening the year with four consecutive weeks on the road.
This last weekend in Oklahoma City may end up being a program-changing kind of weekend.
Thursday night, the Wildcats did not perform well at all, and fell to the No. 11 Central Oklahoma Bronchos by a score of 8-1. This was a result of playing on the east coast last weekend, a short week of practice, and having those practices up in Chandler since TCC was being used for other events.
But all of that went away during the third period of Friday night's game against No. 3 Oklahoma.
The Wildcats entered the third period trailing 3-1 to the Sooners. Andrew Murmes got one past the OU goalie just five seconds into the third period to bring Arizona within a goal.
Then, with 1:34 left in regulation, Murmes added his second score of the period to tie the game up and send the game to overtime. In OT, Murmes scored again, but had that goal disallowed.
Fortunately for Arizona, Matt Nowicki scored a minute after the disallowed goal to give the Wildcats their first win over a top-3 team since defeating then No. 2 Delaware back in 2002.
The Wildcats weren't stopping there though.
They got out to an early 1-0 lead on Saturday, but Oklahoma answered quickly to even the score up at one.
Late in the second period, Alex O'Dea put the second goal up on the board for Arizona, and that was all senior goaltender Steven Sisler would need. Sisler stopped 36 of 37 shots on the night to earn his second win on the weekend, and possibly cement himself as option number one at goalie moving forward this season.
The sweep of No. 3 Oklahoma is the first sweep of a top-three team for Arizona since January of 1996, when the No. 6 Wildcats swept No. 3 Eastern Michigan.
After splitting last weekend's series at No. 10 Liberty, Arizona moved from 19 to 17 in the ACHA poll. Expect that to go way up when this week's poll is released on Friday.
The Wildcats open up the home portion of the schedule Friday night against Northern Arizona, and then face No. 7 Delaware on Saturday. Make sure to go to Tucson Convention Center for the games on Friday and Saturday. Puck drops at 7:30 PM both nights.