(Photo: Gabrielle Mercer/WCSN)
In its biggest test of the season thus far, Arizona State could not manage a win over Nebraska-Omaha on the road, dropping to 5-12-0 on the season.
The Mavericks proved to be too much for the Sun Devils to handle, as they outscored ASU 9-1 in the two games played.
— — —
Nebraska-Omaha 3, Arizona State 1
The Sun Devils had a big opportunity in the series after they learned that Jake Guentzel, the captain and leading scorer for the Mavericks, would miss the first game of the series on Saturday. Despite this, the Sun Devils were unable to capitalize.
The highlight for ASU came when leading scorer Jordan Masters netted his sixth goal of the season, which tied the game up early in the first period. Drew Newmeyer and Cody Gylling earned assists on the goal. It was Newmeyer’s first point of the season.
However, the Mavericks got two power play goals from Austin Ortega, both later in the first period and in the third period, to seal the victory. Tyler Vesel was also a standout for UNO, assisting on all three goals in the game.
Mavericks goalie Evan Weninger allowed just one goal on 18 shots. Most of the Sun Devils’ attempts came in the second period, when they took 11 shots on net.
Ryland Pashovitz did not have quite the same success in stopping goals for ASU, but he faced significantly more shots against him, which has seemed to be a theme for the Sun Devils this season. In the end, he saved 38 of 41 shots that came his way.
Nebraska-Omaha 6, Arizona State 0
Game two was more lopsided than the first, partly due to the return of Guentzel, who had two assists, for UNO.
ASU head coach Greg Powers opted to start Robert Levin between the pipes, and he struggled to keep his team in the game. It didn’t help his case that the Sun Devils were outshot 39-16. The large gap between shot attempts plagued the Sun Devils in both games.
Ortega and Justin Parizek both scored two goals to key the victory. Ortega killed the Sun Devils in the series, scoring four total goals.
The strong defense of the Mavericks prevented the Sun Devils from doing much offensively. ASU could not convert on four separate power plays, and had a goal overturned due to a goaltender interference penalty called on defenseman Connor Schmidt.
— — —
The pair of losses was not the way the Sun Devils wanted to finish 2015, and they will have a long trek back to .500 in 2016. One thing they will have going for them is that 12 of their final 20 games will be played at either Gila River Arena in Glendale or Oceanside Ice Arena in Tempe.
ASU will begin its 2016 slate on the first two days of the new year on the road against St. Cloud State.