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ASU Hockey: Sun Devils shut down by River Hawks

(Photo: Gabrielle Mercer/WCSN)

Arizona State skated onto the ice red-hot Friday night after a trophy-winning weekend in Las Vegas. However, the luck of Vegas didn’t roll into Oceanside Ice Arena, as the Sun Devils fell to UMass Lowell 4-0.

Although ASU wasn’t able to capitalize on some chord-striking excitement, it played aggressively in the sense that they kept the River Hawks on the edge of their skates.

Goaltender Joey Daccord found himself on the receiving end of multiple breakaways and shot down the River Hawks each time, though UML found flight in the puck and was able to fly a few past the ASU netminder in the middle frame.

“They out played us in the second,” Powers said. “I thought we controlled it in the first pretty well and then they came out and outplayed us in the second. They’re going to have push back. They’re a veteran-laden, successful program. They were a goal away from the Frozen Four last year so that’s just a really good hockey team.”

But even after the the first goal was scored against the Sun Devils, they showed that they might have been down, but they weren’t out and hit the forecheck harder than before and cut back on penalties, only nailing one for the whole game.

“That’s a huge metric of ours,” Powers said. “And to play against a team like that we’re going to have to be disciplined and not give them any opportunities on the power play.”

Though the team stepped it up offensively, they failed to find any success in power plays.

“We looked at their (penalty kill) a lot in film before the game,” defender Max Balinson said. “We knew they were going to be real aggressive and we just couldn’t manage the puck when we got it in. We couldn’t get the points and our plan was to get shots through and it just wasn’t happening for us tonight.”

The Sun Devils struggled in finding their footing on the defensive side. While they found strength in blocking shots to aid in the protection of the net, they could not get any odd-man rushes off of them.

Even Daccord found himself outside the crease a few times with a River Hawk right beside him. Those type of plays allowed the River Hawks to capitalize on an open net.

Despite a tough third goal, the ASU bench remained positive.

“It’s a main thing we really strive to do as a young program,” said Balinson.

Some tic-tac-toe passes and smart plays didn’t give the Sun Devils the end that they were hoping for. While Brett Gruber and Brinson Pasichnuk opened up the Sun Devils to multiple breakaway opportunities and scoring chances, the Sun Devil spark was put to rest by UML.

“We always have the saying, these past couple weeks that we’re a team that really has strong Saturdays but we’ve been trying to change that and translate it into Friday’s games,” Balinson said. “After the game tonight, we’re really going to try and bounce back tomorrow morning. We know what they’re going to be like coming right off the hop so we’ll counter everything they’ve been doing tomorrow and hopefully we’ll get a better result.”

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