(Photo: Gabrielle Mercer/WCSN)
The ASU hockey team had the opportunity to check another box in the for its first home sweep of a DI opponent on Saturday night, but after being outshot from the beginning, it wasn’t in the Sun Devils’ cards.
“It was a good experience, it would’ve been real nice to get the win tonight,” ASU freshman forward Johnny Walker said. “That’s something we wanted to check off was a home a sweep, but there’s a lot more opportunities this year and we’ll definitely close in on that.”
ASU struggled to follow up Friday night’s season opener win at home, falling 4-2 to UMass on Saturday night.
Similar to Friday night’s matchup, the first period statistics were fairly even between the teams and both were unable to capitalize on man advantage during power plays. UMass came out with more physicality Saturday, which led to offensive pressure for ASU goaltender Joey Daccord.
Daccord showed his first signs of struggling with rebound control when UMass freshman Jake Guadet netted his first collegiate goal.
The Sun Devils fired right back with a score from freshman Johnny Walker nearly a minute after the Minutemen posted the first goal of the night. The rest of the first period was a scoring impasse with both teams struggling for puck possession and a remaining 1-1 score.
Over halfway through the second, Griff Jeska scored after Daccord was unable to protect the net from a quick counter off the initial shot. But just as quickly as UMass took the lead again, ASU came back with an answer: a back-hand shot by assistant captain Anthony Croston.
UMass opted to start Matt Murray in net and he showed he could perform well when ASU brought the pressure and kept the puck within the blue line.
With the score knotted again, things on the ice started to get chippy as the second period wound down. ASU had two seconds left to score in the second, but they lost the faceoff and headed into the third period tied.
The aggressiveness carried over into the third – and so did the Minutemen physicality.
UMass crashed the net, but Daccord was able to withstand the intense pressure. John Leonard, however, took the lead for the Minutemen halfway through the third.
The Sun Devils struggled on the penalty kill but were able to clear the ice when it mattered most.
Both teams received two penalties in the third period and neither took advantage of their position on the power play.
“They worked harder than us tonight, they wanted it more, they played desperate,” ASU head coach Greg Powers said. “I think it was a tale of two nights, last night we deserved to win the game, and we did. Tonight, UMass deserved to win.”
Unlike each period before, ASU was unable to answer Leonard’s goal. The clock was winding down with around two minutes left in the game and ASU had the man advantage. Daccord didn’t return in between the pipes following a timeout, and in his place, Walker attempted to lead the Sun Devils into overtime. Despite ASU being at a two man advantage, UMass scored on the empty with less than a minute on the clock.
The final horn sounded as the Minutemen got their revenge with 4-2 victory.
The Sun Devils kick off a three-week road trip with a two-game series against No. 17 Air Force on Oct. 13 and 14.