CSU hockey looking ahead to nationals

With the ACHA national tournament just around the corner the Colorado State men’s club hockey team is looking to get into form.

Opportunity came knocking for No. 19 CSU as they played host during a busy weekend. No. 9 Arizona State and No. 22 Arizona came to Fort Collins for a trio of games (two for Arizona, one for ASU).

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The first game out of the back to back stand against Arizona ended in a heart breaking manner for CSU as they fell 3-2 in overtime. Despite the close scoreline Arizona controlled the puck for the majority of the game and were able to generate far more scoring chances than the Rams.

Colorado State goalie Dax Deadrick was a major reason the Rams were able to take the game into overtime. Deadrick’s play in the net was essential for CSU as they faced a relentless, high-pressure attack from Arizona.

“I saw the puck well and I played the box pretty well,” Deadrick said after the game. “They had a lot of good opportunities and I was just fortunate to get a piece of it a lot of the time.”

The second game against Arizona ended with the Rams losing 5-2. In similar fashion to the first game Arizona dominated puck possession, only this time turning that possession into a 5-2 win rather than an overtime thriller.

Against Arizona State CSU was able to do something the club has never done before. The Rams picked up the first win in team history over Arizona State, 6-3.

Despite coming out of the weekend 1-2 the club is looking to bounce back and finish the year strong.

Up next for CSU is the hockey equivalent of the Rocky Mountain Showdown. CSU and the University of Colorado will partake in a home-and-home series on Feb. 10-11. The first game will be in the CU Student Recreation Center in Boulder on Feb. 10. The teams will cap the series off on Feb. 11 in Fort Collins at EPIC.

“The CU-CSU rivalry is always a very emotional game and you always want to come out on top,” said CSU assistant coach Jamison Wicks. “Their place is always tough to play at but we will go there and play our game and hope to come out on top.”

As of right now the Rams are sitting ranked No. 19 nationally with a 14-16-4 record. They are looking to become the first team in school history to make the ACHA national tournament.

“We lost a couple guys at the semester but we also picked up a couple key guys,” said first year player Davis Katigawa. “I think we definitely have it in us to finish the season strong and make a push towards nationals.”

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Collegian sports reporter Evan Grant can be reached by email at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @EvanNGrant