You don’t know the definition of ‘rivalry’ until you step inside the TCC on a Friday night for a game between the University of Arizona and Arizona State.
There’s nothing quite like a sea of red collectively cheering for an ACHA team in downtown Tucson. And to add to the scene, jerseys that both the Wildcats and Sun Devils adorned made the game look like a heated battle between the Boston Bruins and the Montreal Canadiens - as did their competitive play on the ice.
- Goaltender Garrett Patrick gets in the zone before the game Rachel Huston
- Hunter Stavroff takes a few shots at the empty net during warm-ups Rachel Huston
- Robbie Wilkinson gets ready during warm-ups Rachel Huston
- Garrett Patrick readies himself for a shot in warm-ups Rachel Huston
- Hunter Stavroff poses and smiles for a quick photo during warm-ups Rachel Huston
- Tyler Gebauer and Hunter Stavroff shares smiles and stories during warm-ups Rachel Huston
- Robbie Wilkinson gets in the zone Rachel Huston
- Starting goaltender, Austin Wilson makes a blocker save on teammate Toppie Hogan Rachel Huston
- A young fan gets into the game by joining the chants during the first period Rachel Huston
- Kyle Fargesen lugs the puck into the offensive zone while being pressure by several Sun Devils Rachel Huston
- Jack Goodwin gets slightly tangled with with a Devil in the corner Rachel Huston
- Jack Goodwin tracks the play in the offensive zone Rachel Huston
- Tyler Griffith gets ready to make a play behind the net Rachel Huston
- Rachel Huston
- Toppie Hogan makes his presence known as he puts on pressure in the crease Rachel Huston
- Jack Goodwin stares down his opponent before the faceoff Rachel Huston
- Trey Kerns scores to make it 3-2 Rachel Huston
- Arizona celebrates Kerns’ goal but Kyle Fargesen falls out of the group hug Rachel Huston
- High fives for the whole unit after Kerns’ goal Rachel Huston
- Christopher Westlund camps in front of the Arizona State net Rachel Huston
- Hunter Stavroff gets into a shoving match with a Devil Rachel Huston
- Austin Wilson tags fans’ hands before the third period Rachel Huston
- Manny Rowe gets excited with the fans before the final regulation period Rachel Huston
- Tyler Griffith travels into Arizona State’s zone Rachel Huston
- Kyle Fargensen tracks the puck across the ice as he waits in the corner Rachel Huston
- John Hogan collides with an Arizona State player on the endboards and looks on to the play Rachel Huston
- Kyle Fargesen gets ahead of the Devils’ defender to score and make the game 4-3 Arizona Rachel Huston
- The linesman took a hit during Kyle Fargesen’s celebration Rachel Huston
- Tensions were high as many players got into arguments with the opposition Rachel Huston
- Rachel Huston
- Ethan Stahlhuth tracks the puck in the offensive zone Rachel Huston
- Arizona pressures Arizona State in their own zone Rachel Huston
- Arizona makes Arizona State’s goaltender make a sprawling save Rachel Huston
- Ethan Stahlhuth battles for the puck in front of the benches Rachel Huston
- Jack Goodwin travels up ice into the offensive zone Rachel Huston
- Jack Goodwin waits for a pass from a teammate Rachel Huston
- Robbie Wilkinson gets a clean shot on the Arizona State goaltender Rachel Huston
- Arizona State is forced to make several saves as Arizona puts on constant pressure in their zone Rachel Huston
- Toppie Hogan falls onto the ice after scoring the game winner Rachel Huston
In a game that took OT for the Wildcats to obtain their 5-4 victory, there was plenty of physicality at all times; there were heavy hits along the boards and grabbing at cages after whistles.
Freshman Hunter Stavroff even laid on a hit so heavy that it shattered the glass near the home penalty box, which was truly a sight to see. Their physical dominance and presence on the ice was a key to their victory. The Wildcats were hustling on every part of the ice and winning battles along the boards. There were turnovers on the part of Arizona, but they did not give up on the play when it happened. The entire game the Wildcats just looked like the better team, and the scoreboard wound up agreeing in the end.
Arizona’s Jason Zaleski opened the scoring in the first period and Stavroff added to it soon after with his first goal of the season, which was complemented by a fist-pump celebration. The Wildcats’ two-goal lead stood until midway into the second period.
The rivals continued to trade goals through the next two periods. Trey Kerns and Kyle Fargesen found twine in the second and third periods, respectively, to put Arizona ahead 4-3. But Arizona State scored with 1:45 left in the 3rd period to force overtime with the score tied up at four.
However, it was less than two minutes into overtime when the Wildcats’ leading scorer, Toppie Hogan, slipped one past Arizona State’s goaltender to secure the win. Hogan toppled to the ice after his goal and his exuberant teammates flew off the bench to pile on top of him to congratulate the senior. After the game, Hogan rose to second in ACHA scoring with 62 points on the season.
Arizona concludes its time at Tucson Arena this season with the final home game against Arizona State Saturday night at 7:30 pm. A sweep against the in-state rival is vital to the club if they wish to play in the National Tournament in Columbus, Ohio this March. It will certainly be an emotional night for the boys as they honor their graduating seniors.