Arizona Rubber

Arizona’s and New Mexico’s Authoritative Voice of Ice and Inline Hockey

Lobos ‘so ready to play,’ hoping to make ACHA national tournament

 

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The University of New Mexico has played stellar hockey through much of the current season, but is that enough for the Lobos to make the ACHA Division III national tournament?

Time will tell.

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“We are a bit out of the top ten and we had a couple losses that were preventable and really brought us down in the rankings,” said UNM coach Grant Harvey. “We have really strong games and occasionally, we just abandon our game and lose unexpectedly. We are definitely running from behind compared to last year.”

Harvey said keeping the team focused this time of year is key.

“We are running into that time of year where we have played 30 games and the players are almost zoning out, but once it’s game time, they are focusing and having fun and realizing what all the practices and drills are for,” Harvey said. “I’ve been running them hard for hours already and they are so ready to play.”

One major highlight this season was the Nuclear Shootout, an outdoor tournament held Jan. 11-13 at the Los Alamos County Ice Rink that included the Lobos, Dallas Baptist, Nebraska and Northern Arizona.

“The tournament was a huge success,” said Harvey. “There was snowfall in almost every game but not enough to ruin any of them. It was the perfect amount and every team had a blast. The only negative was the championship game couldn’t be played due to the snowfall. There was a high quality of hockey there.”

What are Harvey’s expectations the rest of the way?

“I expect to win the next two and see how this algorithm shapes up,” Harvey said. “We have never played so many games in a season, so this all new to us. I thought we fared well, but sometimes just when I think I have this ranking algorithm figured out, some of our rankings, good or bad, has me scratching my head. I have no idea any more, but I can say for certain winning and winning big helps.”

— Matt Mackinder

(March 5, 2019)