With semester finals approaching across the country, the Arizona State Sun Devils could not maintain a 4.0 GPA on the ice on Friday night. The Sun Devils suffered their first loss of the season against NCAA division I opponent Penn State.
Apparently the ACHA and NCAA are not on the same level, even though the Sun Devils are the best in their league. The Nittany Lions handed the Sun Devils their first flunk of the semester after an 8-3 victory.
ASU did have a 1-0 lead after 18 minutes of play on a goal from senior Dan Styrna, but Penn State caught a break on the power play and evened the score at one apiece before the period ended.
It was a different story in the second twenty minutes. The Nittany Lions were hungry and feasted on three goals in the first six minutes of the period. ASU goaltender Joe D’Elia was relieved from his duties after surrendering four goals, but Kyle Dietriech couldn’t stop PSU’s attack either.
Give the Sun Devils credit, though. Despite their lack of defense and goaltending, they tried to make a comeback after Colin Hekle connected on a backdoor pass to Faiz Khan. Khan finished with two points in the loss and Styrna picked up his second goal of the game, and fourth in his last four games, to pull the Sun Devils back to a 5-3 deficit.
It would not matter how much offense the Sun Devils displayed because Penn State scored a season-high eight goals and peppered 52 shots on goal, including a hat trick performance from leading scorer David Glen.
Glen wasn’t the only freshman who had a good night. Goaltender Matthew Skoff denied 24 of ASU’s 27 shots to pick up his third win of the season. The team from Happy Valley put a dagger in Sparky after they went 3-3 on its power play chances. The maroon and gold went 0-1 on their lone chance with a man advantage.
Fortunately, this loss will not affect ASU’s ACHA standings because this weekend is considered an “exhibition” series against a non-ACHA opponent.
The Sun Devils were simply outmatched Friday night in Pennsylvania, but they have a chance to make up for the night’s performance on Saturday. The puck drops Saturday night at 5:30 p.m. Arizona time.