(Photo: Gabrielle Mercer/WCSN)
Behind two goals from defenseman Louie Rowe – the first two of his collegiate career – Arizona State outlasted Colgate 5-4 in a game that came down to the final seconds.
Rowe’s first goal, the first of the game for the Sun Devils, came via the shorthand shot – it was ASU’s first shorthanded goal of the season.
“[Colgate] scrambled around a little bit on their breakout,” Rowe said. “One thing led to another and the guy was struggling with the puck so I jumped on it, poked it through, had a little breakaway there and I found a way to put it in the net.”
Rowe and the rest of the Sun Devils were forced to score in bunches to keep the Raiders at bay, every time ASU was able to net an attempt, the Raiders called to stay within striking distance.
Given the scoring outburst, ASU head coach Greg Powers admitted that his special teams needed to play at a high level if the Sun Devils wanted to clinch the home victory.
“We definitely won the special teams battle,” Powers said. “We had two power play goals and a shorthanded goal, so when you do that, you’re going to find ways to win.”
Rowe’s presence on the unit proved to be the difference-maker.
“We put him on the power play just to kind of build his confidence a little bit,” Powers said.
ASU defenseman Jakob Stridsberg and forward Robbie Baillargeon also added goals on the night. Stridesberg’s second period goal was the fourth of his NCAA career, while Baillargeon continues to lead ASU in goals.
Powers doesn’t see the production as an anomaly and attributed the showing to the work ethic of both players.
“It’s the two guys that are always out early and they’re always out late,” Powers said. “They both had goals tonight, [Stridesberg] is a first-year defenseman playing college hockey and he’s got four goals, Robbie obviously leads us in goals, so it’s not a fluke that they are the ones producing the most because they put in the most work.”
Ryland Pashovitz earned the nod in net and won his second-straight start despite allowing four goals.
“I thought [Pashovitz] was good, Pash was fine,” Powers said. “They were all just kind of scrambled goals and at the end of the day Pash is 2-0 in his last two starts and that’s what matters most.”
The Sun Devils will look to complete their first NCAA home sweep in the team’s history tomorrow night at Oceanside, but the contest can be expected to look even more chippy than tonight’s did.
“Our guys aren’t afraid to play physical,” Powers said. “We want to stay out of the box, obviously, but I thought we were pretty disciplined and if we need to be physical we can.”
Still, in a time where wins don’t come every night for the program, Powers admitted this win was sweet.
“You gotta learn how to win games like that,” Powers said. “The guys hung on and it was a great win.”