(Photo: Amanda Luberto/WCSN)
After a sloppy start on the offensive end, the Arizona State Division II Elite team exploded for 5 goals in the second period, as the Sun Devils defeated the San Diego State Aztecs 7-1 Friday night.
The Sun Devils improved to 4-1 on the young season, boosted by an aggressive defensive effort and another solid outing by senior goalie Kyle Dietriech. The Aztecs started out solid on defense but were unable to capitalize on opportunities as they fell to 3-3.
The Sun Devils were loose with the puck in the first period, and struggled against the Aztecs’ defense, but were still able to put 12 shots on Aztec goalie Connor O’Brien.
ASU junior defensemen Dan Kuenzi connected on a one-timer midway through the period to give the Sun Devils the lead. Despite the struggles on offense, the Arizona State defense was very impressive, holding the Aztecs to just four shots on goal in the first period.
In the second, after a penalty-filled opening six minutes, the Sun Devils would go on a run, scoring four goals in five minutes and fifteen seconds. Kevin Hanlon scored on a power play for Sun Devils followed 2 minutes later by a Zac Inser score, putting the Sun Devils up 3-1.
44 seconds later, following a penalty on Jacob Weisman that put San Diego State on the power play, Brady Morgan connected on an assist from Justin Butler. Weisman made up for his penalty with a goal at the 8:39 mark of the second period giving the Sun Devils a commanding 5-0 lead.
The Aztecs finally broke through the Sun Devil defense at the 4:47 mark of the second period, when sophomore forward John Riley got a shot past Dietriech. The Sun Devils responded quickly with a goal from Ryan Mohr and head into the third period with a 6-1 lead.
Players from both teams had to be separated several times in a very chippy third period. Ninety seconds in, ASU’s Coda Engbar and SDSU’s Donnie Keffer were both called for roughing.
The two teams will meet again on Saturday night at 7:30pm at Oceanside Ice Arena in Tempe.