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Arizona hockey sweeps ASU, claims the Cactus Cup

Wildcats bring the Cactus Cup to Tucson for the first time in team history

Robby Leano | AZ Desert Swarm

The No. 15 Arizona Wildcats swept the No. 24 Arizona State Sun Devils on Saturday night at the Tucson Convention Center.

The Wildcats dominated ASU throughout the weekend, defeating the Sun Devils 4-1 on Friday, and 6-1 on Saturday. Arizona is now 16-6 on the season and claims the Cactus Cup for the first time in team history.

“I’m speechless,” team captain Orion Olsen said after Saturday’s game. “Our freshmen year we lost eight games in a row to these guys and that wasn’t it. We lost a lot of games, this team, but we kept fighting and stuck through it throughout the years. And now we got a team that took it to them. It feels great.”

The Wildcats started Saturday night early. Forward Ethan Stahlhuth opened up the scoring for the night, sinking the puck just 13:47 into the first period. Just minutes later, senior Griffin Dyne scored another one to put the ‘Cats up 2-0.

In the second period, Josh Larson and Tyler Griffith both scored to further pad Arizona’s lead. Much later, ASU’s Austin Ehrlich capitalized on a long power play opportunity, to put the score at 4-1.

Arizona took over once more in the final period of the Cactus Cup. Justin Plumhoff scored within the first minute of the period that just led to further frustration from the Sun Devils. ASU’s frustration was evident in the third period, leading to several extra scrums which resulted in nothing. With the Sun Devils on edge and on the brink of defeat, Arizona’s Jake Dickison scored the final tally of the night with 3:08 remaining in the period.

Entering the War Zone:

Arizona and ASU’s War Zone style hockey continues to live up to its hype. In game 3 of the series Friday, the teams combined for 92 penalty minutes. Most of those minutes came off a line brawl that broke out late in the third period. Arizona’s Josh Larson, Justin Plumhoff, and Orion Olsen all received game misconduct penalties, with ASU’s Jack Burkel, Garrett Amaya, and Owen Larson receiving their own misconducts to match.

Arizona head coach Chad Berman said that while the fight was quite frustrating as a coach, he was happy with the outcome of it all.

“I’m happy that the refs made the right decision,” he said. “And they gave them game [misconducts] and not DQ’s. It was the right decision, it took control.”

Berman later clarified the difference of a game misconduct and a game disqualification, noting the former means the player is out for the rest of the game, while the latter would mean the player is out for the next game (Saturday’s game) as well.

Saturday’s game was no different. The physicality of the teams started out slow in the first period, but slowly escalated to a couple of brawls later on. The final period featured two major scrums between the ‘Cats and the Sun Devils that included several game misconduct penalties as well as disqualifications.

In total, the teams combined for an additional 72 penalty minutes. If you don’t want to do the math that is a total of 164 penalty minutes in 120 minutes of ice time.

The Wildcats will have the next month off. They will kick off their next semester of play on January 5, when they host their other in-state rivals, Grand Canyon.