(Photo: Nicholas Badders/WCSN)
After a late Friday night opener, the Arizona State and Assiniboine Community College women’s club hockey programs had a quick turnaround for the second contest of the three-game series at Oceanside Ice Arena with a 2 p.m. puck drop. The Cougars overpowered the Devils with tremendous speed and puck management to secure a 4-2 victory.
Assiniboine dominated with consistent offensive pressure in the first 20 minutes of play as the Cougars rushed across the Sun Devil blue line and created quality scoring chances.
After scoring a hat trick in the first game, Cougars forward Rachel Charles continued her rampage of goals.
Three minutes into the game, Charles snuck a goal past Sun Devil goaltender Jordan Nash-Boulden to give Assiniboine an early 1-0 advantage.
She was not done, however.
After Sun Devil forward Amber Galles scored 26 seconds into the third period, Charles quickly retaliated with her 5th goal of the series just 21 ticks subsequent to ASU cutting the deficit to one.
Assiniboine head coach Terry Arksey praised Charles’ performance through the first two games.
“Rachel is on a roll. We knew she had it in her,” he said. “She has not scored a lot this year, but she’s found her touch here this weekend. Hopefully, she continues to keep it going for a little longer.”
The Cougars were relentless as they maintained the dominating edge throughout the entire 60 minutes. Sun Devil head coach Lindsey Ellis acknowledged her tam’s struggles out of the gate.
“We lost the first period,” Ellis explained. “We have to play a full 60 minutes of hockey. We can’t just play 40 minutes and be okay with that.”
Despite falling behind 2-0 after 20 minutes, Taylor England found a deflected McGinley shot and poked the puck into the back of the net to cut the Cougars lead in half.
“KC had the shot and it bounced off the goalie,” England detailed. “The puck went behind her pad. It crossed the goal line, but the ref did not blow the whistle. I made sure it went in across the line.”
Jordan Nash-Boulden had her work cut out for her, stopping 32 of the 36 Cougar shots on goal. At the other end of the ice, Assiniboine goalie Miranda Cook had a lighter load, making 11 saves on 13 opportunities.
While the Sun Devils could not generate many good looks, the trio of Amber Galles, Danika Borges, and Taylor England reunited on the same line for the first time since last year and was easily their top line of the game, scoring both goals.
For the special teams, both sides could not capitalize on the power play as all goals were scored five-on-five. With a significant amount of time in the offensive zone, the Cougars fought off the Sun Devils to win 4-2.
Assiniboine and ASU close out the series Sunday morning. Puck drop is scheduled at 9.a.m. at Oceanside Ice Arena.