The 2013-14 Arizona hockey season came to a close on Thursday as the Wildcats dropped their opening round game at the ACHA National Tournament to the Illinois Illini by a score of 4-3.
Arizona dug itself into a deep hole, training the Illini 4-0 just five minutes into the second period. The Wildcats had already made a change at goaltender, and given up three power play goals before Brennen Parker finally got one past the Illinois goaltender in the middle of the second period.
With Garrett Patrick in net, the Wildcats made it a game in the third period. Ansel Ivens-Anderson picked up two goals in the third, but Arizona could not push a third goal into the net.
Penalties, like always for this team, were the ultimate reason that they lost to, let's face it, an inferior opponent.
Illinois went 3-for-7 on the power play, while Arizona was 0-for-3 on their man-advantages.
Illinois moves on to play another WCHL team in the Oklahoma Sooners Friday afternoon, a team that Arizona went 3-0-0 against this year.
If this game shows anything, it is that the Cats did not just fold up the tent and call it a day. They battled back. They put themselves in position to possibly force overtime or even take a win. The old Wildcats would have lost this game by ten goals. The new Wildcats lost by one.
I think that's something that we can take as a huge positive heading into next season.
Wildcats fall just short of epic come back, down 4-0, only to lose 4-3 to #18 Illinois. http://t.co/nBmQ6LQNjO— UA Wildcat Hockey (@UAWildcatHockey) March 7, 2014
Pre game meal w/ @nowickipedia #natties #dunkin #springbreakbods pic.twitter.com/pxUc3OFj1Q— Nick Hinsberg (@nhinsberg) March 6, 2014