(Photo: Gabrielle Mercer/WCSN)
On a rough night for Arizona State athletics, Sun Devil hockey brought home an unlikely win, earning its first victory of the season at Oceanside Ice Arena.
With the 5-3 triumph over Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, ASU is now 3-11-0 on the season, but two of its wins have come in the last five games.
“It’s a stepping stone in the right direction,” ASU forward Wade Murphy said. “This weekend is a big one for our confidence. Right now that’s a great win for us.”
Five different Sun Devils scored in the game, and Murphy and Tyler Busch were the only players with multiple points.
“We felt like we outplayed them for 60 minutes,” ASU head coach Greg Powers said.
With the game tied heading into the third period, Murphy netted the go-ahead goal before graduate transfer Robbie Baillargeon iced it with his team-leading seventh goal of the season.
The offensive effort was a welcomed sight for Powers, but he saw room for improvement defensively.
“Every line did some good things,” he said. “Every goal they scored except for the power play goal, there were two defensive breakdowns. One in the offensive zone on the third goal we had a high guy dive down and on their second goal we had a guy take a big circle and not stop in the house and play our D-zone. Some things to shore up but we will do that with film and come back tomorrow.”
Goalie Ryland Pashovitz made a rare start – just his second of the year – and only faced 26 shots, but kept ASU in the game throughout the night.
However, Murphy thinks it was the special teams that really won the game for the Sun Devils. He scored his eventual game-winner on a power play.
The bombardment of shots helped the Sun Devils case as well, as they outshot their opponent – a rarity for them – 35-26.
“That’s one of the things we want to do is get a lot of shots on net,” Murphy said. “That’s what Penn State did to us (last weekend), I think they had 50+ shots each game, so we have to get a lot of shots on net and play strong defensively on the puck as well.”
Brinson Pasichnuk, Nicholas Gushue and Dylan Hollman scored the first three Sun Devil goals on Engineers netminder Chase Perry.
It has been a tough season for RPI, who dropped to 2-12-1, just one year after winning 18 games. The Sun Devils will get a change at the Engineers once again tomorrow. A win would give the Devils their first weekend sweep of the season.
“We’re just taking it one at a time here,” Powers said. “It’s the old cliché. We segmented our season and this is the start of our third segment that we are going to take through the Desert Classic and we are taking it like we are 1-0 and we’re going to play downhill. That’s how we are taking it, like we are 1-0.”
-Powers mentioned that freshman Brett Gruber, who suffered an injury during the game, should be fine. The diagnosis appears to just be a Charlie horse.