Cool Cats check in to Top 10



The UK ice hockey team appears to be in the driver’s seat for a regional tournament appearance after a weekend without a game and the release of new American Collegiate Hockey Association rankings.

The Cool Cats have earned a No. 10 ranking in the ACHA Southeast Region, which would give them the final spot in the Regional Tournament field and a shot at Nationals.

Junior forward Michael Getz is very pleased to crack the top 10, but said he expected the team to be ranked higher at the beginning of the season.

“We didn’t really want it to come down to the wire like that,” Getz said.

UK is only four points behind No. 9 Bowling Green, but 12 points ahead of No. 11 Maryland.

“Going into (Ohio State) we thought we needed to win both games,” freshman forward Gray McLaughlin said. “It’s such a relief we made it. We were really biting our nails.”

After the team heard about being in the top 10, “We celebrated pretty hard,” junior forward Josh Knicker said.

The team was swept by OSU in its two previous games before the rankings came out.

The team has games against Missouri State Friday and Saturday and two games against Akron on Feb. 18-19 which can still affect its ranking.

“We are not taking anybody lightly,” Getz said.

The Cool Cats will play the remainder of the regular season at the Lexington Ice Center.

The team did not have a game over the weekend and used the time to fine-tune its strategy for the rest of the season.

“We just practiced like we normally would,” Getz said. “We worked on the plan we are going to use at Regionals.”

McLaughlin said the team had two hard practices and did most of its training on its own during its weekend off from game action.

“We hit the gym every day,” Knicker said.

Even though the team didn’t play Tennessee this weekend due to a scheduling conflict several players still visited the state.

“A bunch of guys went down to Gatlinburg and rented a cabin,” McLaughlin said. “It was great for team bonding. We grew closer together and had a lot of fun.”

Getz said there are 10 good teams in the Southeast Region and the games will be very competitive. However, the Cool Cats are ready for any team, including OSU.

“We feel like we can beat (OSU) at Regionals if it comes down to it,” Getz said.

Despite the losses to OSU, the team feels it just needs to keep playing hard.

“We’ve got to keep that thirst and keep rolling,” Knicker said.