(Photo: Gabrielle Mercer/WCSN)
So far, the Arizona State Sun Devils’ (1-8-0) first full NCAA season can be summed up by the following – when it rains, it pours.
The team dropped its fifth-straight game at Gila River Arena on Friday night, a 4-1 loss at the hands of No. 17 Michigan (4-3-1).
In the week leading up to the contest, Michigan head coach Red Berenson mentioned that he wanted to take the game against Arizona State in an effort to further the national exposure for collegiate hockey in the Southwest.
Given the total attendance of 3,252 – a large jump from the average of 1,246 attendees that the Sun Devils have drawn to games this season – Berenson and the Wolverines did have some kind of impact.
“We know they are going to get better,” Berenson said. “Their coach has done a good job in building this program to where it is now and it’s going to be better every year.”
With no shortage of Michigan fans in attendance, the Wolverines – led by freshman forward Will Lockwood – put on a show for the traveling fans.
Lockwood finished with two goals in the game.
“We had our chances, we had opportunities,” Powers said. “I thought we played really well, again, 5-on-5 we’ve been good pretty much all year, so there’s silver lining in tonight, but at the end of the day, we’ve got to get over that hump and it’s disappointing that it didn’t happen tonight.”
The game was tied after the first period at 1-1, following a rebuttal from Joe Lappin after Nolan De Jon struck first for the Wolverines.
Although the score didn’t indicate much improvement for Powers’ team, the Sun Devils outshot Michigan in the first period and amassed just four total penalties.
They also killed three out of four power play opportunities, Adam Winborg was the only Wolverine to capitalize on the advantage with a second-period goal.
Winborg’s goal was met with some controversy after a replay had shown that the puck didn’t actually break the plane of the line. After some review, the officiating crew upheld the call, giving Michigan a 3-1 lead.
“I guess the referees didn’t have access to that overhead view, where you could see that it didn’t look like it went in,” freshman goaltender Joey Daccord said. “It’s hockey, stuff’s going to happen, bounces are going to go your way, they might not go your way and that one didn’t go our way but I thought we battled back hard after that.”
Daccord finished the night with 34 saves and four goals allowed.
“I thought he was pretty good,” Powers said. “I think he made the saves he had to make, certainly that loss isn’t on goaltending.”
Still, from the first period on, Michigan’s talent and experience started to become evident.
“I don’t care what anybody says, [Arizona State] will be so much better at the end of this year, they’ll be better in a month, they’ll be better when they’re juniors and seniors because of the schedule that we’re playing,” Powers said. “I’m proud of their effort, we want more wins, they will come, but it’s just minor details that we’ve got to shore up.”
Arizona State will be looking for its second win of the season when the team travels back to the east coast for games with New Hampshire and No. 5 Boston College.
BELOW: See photos from No. 17 Michigan vs. ASU at Gila River Arena on Friday