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ASU D2 Hockey: Sun Devils dismantle UConn blueline

(Photo:Alexis Ramanjulu/WCSN)

The Sun Devil Elite team won its 27th game of the season with a 7-1 victory over the University of Connecticut Huskies at Oceanside Ice Arena on Saturday.

At the start, all eyes were on forward Brady Morgan, who after last night’s goal, ranks second on the team with 45 points. Morgan also ranks first in assists with 32 on the year and was relied on to play the facilitator tonight to get leading scorers Ryan McNeely and Jason Kuta going early on.

If last night was any indication, the University of Connecticut defense is in a groove, and it will be up to the Devils’ offensive juggernauts to get the Arizona State offense going early.

For most of the first period, each team fought to control the tempo of the match, and play remained very physical throughout. It would take Arizona State roughly eight minutes to score its first goal of the evening, after a put-back goal courtesy of forward Daniel Kuenzi and the assist from Brady Morgan. The match would get even more heated after the goal, and the referees stopped play consistently through the remainder of the period.

The Devils would manage to net one more shot with 33 seconds remaining in the period after forward Wes Starr set forward Jordan LeClair up for his sixth goal of the season, giving Arizona State a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission.

Arizona State managed to hold UConn to just seven shots on goal in the period; however, the second period would get off to a vastly different start.

The Huskies came out flying start the period and were able to get on the board when forward Mike Geiger capitalized on the feed from Paul Cinquegrana just 40 seconds in. Arizona State’s defense tightened up after being caught off guard, and did what they could to hold on to what was now a one-goal lead.

Forward Justin Butler got the scoring started again with eight minutes remaining in the second period, off of forward Brady Morgan’s 33rd assist of the year. Arizona State had regained its two goal lead, and now looked to stymie the Husky effort to climb back into the match. Ryan McNeely would also score in the period, his team-best 22nd goal of the year, off of the assist from Justin Havriliak to increase Arizona State’s lead to three.

The end of the period ended on a very interesting note after two UConn players, Paul Cinquegrana and Jared Knect, were assessed two-minute penalties for head contact and kneeing. Arizona State would then take full advantage of their three-on-five power play, and score with just less than three minutes remaining in the period on Brady Morgan’s feed to Ryan McNeely for his second goal of the night.

The Devils were now up 5-1, with one period remaining.

Morgan continued to facilitate, and earned his third assist of the game five minutes into the period when he set Jason Kuta up for his 22nd goal of the season. Roughly three minutes later, the Devils would score again courtesy of Ryan McNeely’s feed to left-wing Austin Ehrlich.

With his three-assist night, Brady Morgan now has a total of 35 assists on the year.

Arizona State will improve to 27-3-1 and will look to sweep their final series of the season against NAU before the Western Regional Tournament.

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