The No. 16 Arizona Wildcats started the homestretch of the 2013-14 season on the right foot as they took down the No. 5 Oklahoma Sooners 5-3. The win completed a three-game sweep of the season series for the Cats over the Sooners.
It got crazy in the third period after a goal scored by Bryan Drazner put Arizona up 4-2.
Oklahoma answered when Chad Liley brought the Sooners back within one with just under nine minutes left.
Just a minute after that, a controversial goal by Oklahoma was disallowed after Cory Ramsey crashed hard into the net, taking out Wildcat goalie Steven Sisler. The call turned out to be a huge break for Arizona as it looked as though the puck had crossed the goal line before Sisler was taken out.
"The guy ran me right into the net," said Sisler.
After a horrible Arizona power play (they did go 3-for-8 on the night though), Oklahoma had several chances to tie up the game, but Sisler came up with a couple of huge saves.
Then a shot that rang off the crossbar with 2:30 left in the game, which left the Arizona goalie grateful.
"Just thank God," joked Sisler. "Luck goes both ways. Sometimes you get lucky. We're going to get bounces that go for us and against us. It's always a good feeling when it goes off the crossbar. Just take it one shot at a time."
With just over a minute left, Jeff Wadhams gave the Wildcats the insurance goal and the 5-3 victory.
"(Wadhams) made me feel pretty good back there with that last goal," Sisler said.
With about 30 seconds left, Oklahoma tried to respond, which left Andrew Murmes worn out as he gave me a weary look when he came off the ice after his last shift.
"I was just flat-out gassed man," said Murmes.
Arizona came out of the gates slow, trailing 1-0 after the first period. But three second period goals from Andrew Murmes, Brennen Parker, and Mike Ferreira gave the Wildcats a 3-2 lead heading into the intense third period.
Steven Sisler played great in net, stopping 46 of the 49 OU shots on the night.
"He was great," said head coach Sean Hogan. "Sisler was the number one star in my mind. He played phenomenal."
"I thought I made key saves when I needed to," added Sisler. "I thought I helped the team out by making saves at key moments."
The win was especially sweet for Sisler. He grew up playing with a lot of the Sooners in his hometown of Plano, Texas.
"It's big for me since I played with a bunch of those guys....(Jordan) Greenberg especially. I played hockey with him growing up, so I like rubbing it in his face after we beat him."
"Oklahoma's a strong opponent," continued Sisler, "and our ranking's getting kind of high, so we wanted to take it to them this weekend and focus on UCO tomorrow and Saturday."
Next up for Arizona is two games against No. 11 Central Oklahoma, who lost to the still unbeaten Sun Devils last night by a score of 12-0. The Bronchos took a game from Arizona earlier in the year by a score of 8-1, so the Wildcats have some memories to erase.
"We've changed our forecheck quite a bit," said coach Hogan. "We've been pinching our D really hard, and that's been pretty effective for us."
"We're going to just try and take it to 'em, see if we can continue to play that way."
"Central Oklahoma's been a thorn in our side and a lot of it is their goaltending. Caldwell is one of the best in the league."
But after breaking their six-game losing streak yesterday, Arizona is ready.
"This was a key game for us," continued Sisler. "We want to take it to 'em this weekend."
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