Friday night has not exactly provided the type of positive inspiration the Arizona Icecats care to draw on - especially from the results of their last two matchups.
Against Arizona State, the Icecats lost 3-2 in a shootout back in December, and last week they were shut out 7-0 against Adrian College.
Against Northern Arizona University, though, the Icecats finally found a reason to feel good about Friday again, jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the first period en route to a 6-1 win at Tucson Convention Center.
"Last Saturday's win and the fight after the game got us riled up, and it carried through practice this week and into tonight," said Arizona's Brady Lefferts.
The junior helped put the game out of reach in the first period with a pair of goals - his first two of the season. He was one of two Icecats to find the net twice.
Lefferts attributed Friday's offensive outburst to the team's full week of practice. For the first, and only, time this semester the Icecats had the benefit of being able to practice in the four days leading up to their weekend series.
Practice "was great, and we took advantage of those four days this week," he said. "It helped us start out strong tonight."
Arizona (10-8) played Friday's game short-handed, primarily because of suspensions resulting from last week's fight. Without the services of six of its players, others were forced to fill in, including freshman Hayden Kowalski, who scored the first two goals of his career.
While the Icecats offense thrived early on against NAU, coach Leo Golembiewski said his team lacked the type of intensity and focus the team needs.
"Guys filled in and did a good job," Golembiewski said. "But after scoring in the first 33 seconds we never achieved the level of intensity that we will need (tonight) and the next two weeks."
Arizona struggled to move the puck out of the defensive zone Friday, an area Golembiewski said his squad will need to improve on if they hope to continue this streak of momentum into the final game against NAU and into matchups against Minot State University and Arizona State in the coming weeks.
"We were sloppy in the defensive zone tonight," he said. "We have to understand that there's one game left to prepare for the next four games that could determine if we go to nationals."