Cover Photo Credit: UA Hockey
This weekend marked the second series of this season’s Cactus Cup. Coming off winning streaks, both the Arizona Wildcats and Arizona State Sun Devils skated onto the Tucson Arena, hopeful to extend their good fortune. Throughout November, Arizona steadily rose through the ranks, successfully defeating Arizona State, Colorado State, and Grand Canyon in a 6-game run. Meanwhile, Arizona State ended November with a 2-game streak against the Utah Utes.
Night one held a lot of variety. The first two periods were relatively tame, but the third period made up for it with more than enough excitement. First period provided the Wildcats with two power plays, neither of which was converted, and neither team was able to score. The second period had a little more action. With 13:13 remaining on the clock, Arizona’s Dylan Walker scored the first goal of the game. Later in the period, Arizona State’s Brendan Studioso scored the Sun Devils’ first (and only) goal of the game.
Third period was the most intense interval of the game. With 15:25 left in the game, Arizona State’s Damon Porter incurred a major penalty and ejection by cross-checking Arizona’s Dylan Walker in the head. The Wildcats converted that power play twice, the first by John Shively’s beautiful shot across the ice, and the second by Brody Selman. Throughout the third period, the audience was electric and each development fed their enthusiasm. Arizona’s Ryan Malko made their fourth and final goal with 6:54 remaining in the game.
Night two was just as diverse as the first. The first period had three power plays in total and ended with neither team scoring a single goal. Then, the Wildcats’ Jesse Lowell scored the game’s first goal with 8:47 left in the second period. Both teams had power plays throughout the period, but neither was able to convert them. In the third period, Clayton Lackey scored the Sun Devils’ first goal of the night, with 14:56 remaining in the game. With the score tied 1-1, the game ran into overtime, neither team was able to score and, ultimately, Arizona State won the shootout.
Overall, both teams played extremely well this weekend. The series ended with a win for both Arizona and Arizona State— the Wildcats winning 4-1 the first night and the Sun Devils winning 2-1 the second. The results of this weekend’s games have bumped the Wildcats to #11, and the Sun Devils to #13. Arizona State will be traveling next weekend to play Grand Canyon, and Arizona will return in 2023.