The Arizona Icecats were looking good in preparation for tonight's 7:30 season opener at Arizona State, until about a week ago.
Since then, coach Leo Golembiewski has learned he will play without four of his best players. Jeff Back, Jordan Schupan, Brady Lefferts and Austin Capobianco are sidelined with everything from swine flu to pneumonia to a hip displacement.
"Until six or seven days ago, we were very happy," the coach said.
The Icecats will head to Oceanside Ice Arena in Tempe "a bit undermanned," Golembiewski said. The team has 19 newcomers, including two freshmen goalies.
At least they'll be comfortable around each other. Three sets of siblings are on the team this season: Sean and Shane MacLachlan, who are twins, and Zach and Spencer Cherney, and Adam and Andrew Treptow.
The team has seven games before opening at home Nov. 6 against Eastern Washington. The Sun Devils are already 1-0, defeating BYU 13-0.
Golembiewski said he doesn't mind playing a rival in the opener.
"We've got to open up against somebody," he said.