(Photo: Gabrielle Mercer/WCSN)
Arizona State’s vacation away from the NCAA couldn’t have started any better.
The Sun Devils took a break from their rigorous NCAA schedule to play ACHA University of Ohio on Friday, defeating the Bobcats 8-2 and tying a season-high in goals in the first of a two-game series in Tempe.
The Devils saw their nine-game losing streak grow to 11 last weekend after a sweep at the hands of Bemidji State, losing by a combined 7-0 in both games. In addition, Greg Powers’ team hasn’t scored in the last four games.
In that span, they’ve been outscored 14-0.
For Ohio, the ACHA has not been able to keep up. The Bobcats boasted a 23-5-0 record coming into the game and have won with ease in the league the Devils used to call home.
That momentum carried over, and the Bobcats drew first blood, netting the first goal of the game via Jake Faiella’s fourth goal of the season just four minutes in.
However, the rest of the period would be all Arizona State.
Joe Lappin, Liam Norris and Cody Gylling all scored to make it 3-1 at the end of the first period.
The team also managed a refreshing 15 shots on goal, while holding the Bobcats to just five.
“It’s big, obviously the last four games we didn’t score a goal,” Gylling said. “We just have to kind of get our mojo back and get rolling.”
The offense would pick up right where it left off in the second when Ed McGovern capitalized on a feed from Jordan Masters and Joey Raats.
Raats and Masters continue to star for this first-year team; while this game does not count toward any official NCAA stats, the two freshmen have combined for 33 points this season.
Jack Rowe also scored in the period on a feed from Drew Newmeyer.
Newmeyer donned the only captain’s patch in the game after being named the lone captain of the team, a change of pace from the conventional group of Brock Krygier, Garrett Peterson, Liam Norris and Jordan Young.
Powers explained this as an early transition for next year, given that the aforementioned four are all seniors.
“It’s a pretty big honor,” Newmeyer said. “Kind of came as a surprise, but like I said it’s a big honor, but it really doesn’t change much about how I go about my business.
“Just trying to keep doing what I’m doing.”
At the end of the second period, the offense was coming in bunches for both teams. Ryan Belonger and Anthony Croston both got shots to go for the Devils, while Matt Rudin found the back of the net for the Bobcats, all shots coming within seconds of one and other.
However, the sequence – and even the score – was not indicative of the overall tone, as both teams played solid defense for a majority of the period.
The Devils launched nine attempts in the second, compared to Ohio’s abysmal count of two.
Liam McGing would add one more for good measure in the third, bringing the lead to 8-2.
Arizona State scored on one of its two power play opportunity in the game, while only being called for two penalties.
“I thought they were good,” Powers said. “We killed both penalties we had and then we ticked it around there pretty good in the third on the power play, we had one power play goal in the second, so no complaints.”
While the game was an exhibition, this game couldn’t have been better for the Sun Devils. Not only did they get to take a break for the beating of an NCAA schedule, but they were able to come out and dominate on their home ice, something they haven’t done since their shootout win against Alberta on Dec. 4.
“It’s good to win,” Powers said. “But they know that their effort needs to be better.”
The series will conclude tomorrow night at Oceanside Ice Arena. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.