The Sun Devils fell to the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds 8-2 in the first game of the Great Northwest Showcase in Burnaby, British Columbia.
The Thunderbirds were the superior team throughout the night. They peppered ASU goaltender Joe D’Elia and ASU’s offense struggled to finish. Despite losing, D’Elia was given the Sun Devil MVP award for the game. An impressive note was that the Sun Devils kept the game scoreless after the first twenty minutes.
It is the team’s second consecutive loss, as they fell 5-3 against No. 2 Robert Morris-Illinois University on December 8 in Tempe.
In the first period, UBC set the tempo by getting multiple shots on goal. ASU goaltender Joe D’Elia was able to keep the Sun Devils in the game with some great saves, and ultimately finished the period with 15 saves. The Sun Devil defense looked sloppy at times, and was often caught chasing the puck in their defensive zone. ASU had a couple of scoring opportunities, but UBC goaltender Jordan White was solid in between the pipes with nine first-period saves. The superior play of both goaltenders kept the game tied 0-0 going into the second period.
The Thunderbirds kicked off the second period with two quick goals from Mike McGurk and Cole Wilson. Six minutes later Jessi Hilton deflected the puck past D’Elia off of a pass from Ben Schmidt. UBC added a fourth goal when Scott Macdonald’s wrist shot skidded into the net. ASU finally got on the board in the closing minutes of the period when handsome captain Collin Hekle scored a shorthanded goal on his forehand. UBC led 4-1 heading into the third period.
The Thunderbirds dominated the third period with four more goals. Kale Dolinski tried to make it interesting when he scored a beautiful goal on a feed from Hekle. ASU was still down by 5-2 with the majority of the period to play and UBC tacked on three more to put salt in the wound of the best team in the ACHA.
The Sun Devils not have three losses on the season, but this one did not come at much of a surprise considering British Columbia was the best team ASU has seen all season. They return to action Saturday night against Simon Fraser.