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ASU D2 Hockey: Defense carries Sun Devil Elite team to victory over Denver

(Photo:Brooke Faber/WCSN) 

The No. 3 Arizona State Sun Devils skated away with a 5-0 victory to complete the home-series sweep of the No. 18 University of Denver Pioneers on Saturday night at Oceanside Arena.

The Pioneers seemed determined to limit the offensive attack of the Devils, a task that has proved too daunting for teams this season.

Defenseman Zac Inzer helped get the scoring started for the Devils by setting the 5-foot-11 lefty Daniel Gowans for the first goal of the night just four minutes into the match. Inzer wasn’t done either, as he would also find center Ryan Francis for his second assist of the night and help give the Devils a 2-0 lead with eight minutes remaining in the period. For the Pioneers, they were able to hold the Devils to one of their smallest scoring outputs at home all season with two goals.

For Zac Inzer, however, he is quietly becoming a force for this Sun Devils team.

“Zac knows what he needs to do, and that’s do the little things,” said Head Coach Dennis LeClair. “He’s doing them. We’ve played in 12 games at this point and Zac has played in all of them, 6 at forward and 6 at defenseman. Zac is a four year player with this team, and he’s one of the leaders.”

Denver didn’t let up, and continued to play very well defensively through the second period. The Pioneers were able to hold the Devils scoreless 10 minutes into the second period.

Scottsdale native Steven Casaceli broke through, connecting with forward Charles Butler for the third Arizona State goal of the night, and Butler’s fifth goal of the season. Offensively though, the Devils would remain quiet through the second period with only three goals regardless of their 32 shot total.

The Pioneers were able to manage only 12 shots on goal through two periods, and not one of those shots was able to find the net. Going into the third, it looked as though this game would be a little closer than last night’s 9-1 victory in favor of Arizona State.

No one team was able to dominate possession of the puck in the third period, and regardless of the score, Denver wouldn’t quit.

It was better late than never for forward Brady Morgan to get involved, bringing his  goal total to nine on the season. Forward Jayce Davis would also make his presence felt on the ice with a successful shot on goal off of a feed from center Justin Havriliak giving the Devils a five-goal lead.

Defenseman Mark DeVaughn was injured late in the third period after taking a hard hit into the wall.

“It was his knee,” said LeClair. “But he skated off and even wanted to go back into the game. It was nothing serious.”

The Devils will improve to 11-1 on the season after the shutout win and will take on the NAU Ice Jacks next Saturday at home. You can catch the live broadcast at http://www.cronkitesports.com/live-broadcasts.

 

 

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