(Photo: Nick Marek/WCSN)
A furious third period rally by Arizona State fell short as the Sun Devils Division II Elite team fell to the Northern Arizona IceJacks 6-5 on Friday night. In their first loss of the season, the Sun Devils struggled with penalties which led to three power play goals.
Northern Arizona came out aggressive in search of their first DII win. The IceJacks consistently put pressure on sophomore goalie Corey Frank, who was making his first start for the Sun Devils this season.
Senior forward Ryan Greenspan scored the IceJacks’ first goal on a power play midway through the first period. The goal was answered when ASU scored with six minutes left.
Arizona State took the lead early in the second period with a power play goal by Dan Kuenzi. It was the Sun Devils’ only lead of the game. Dillon Butenoff and Ben Russell scored goals for the IceJacks, who would take 3-2 lead into the third period.
The Sun Devils came out with more aggression in the third period but yielded a goal five minutes into the period. Jacob Weisman pulled the Sun Devils within one, but NAU quickly answered with a goal from Dedrick Weise to make the score 5-3. Goals by John Randall and James Iwaszkiw tied the game at 5 with 6:48 in the third period.
NAU forward Ben Russell scored the deciding goal, his second of the game, on a power play with 5:43 left in the third period. The Sun Devils, who had battled all night, failed to score again despite blitzing IceJack goalie James Korte in the final minutes.
The Sun Devils and IceJacks wrap up the series Saturday at 4:30pm at Oceanside Ice Arena in Tempe.
You can reach Matt Harden on Twitter @MattHarden or at firstname.lastname@example.org