The Sun Devils were able capture their only win of the three-game weekend series tonight by beating the University of Central Oklahoma 5-3.
ASU Forward Dan Styrna returned to the lineup tonight after being side lined for Thursday and Friday night’s game, and was a big part of the reason the Sun Devils were able to win. Stryna rejoined his line alongside captain Colin Hekle and forward Faiz Khan. This line had not played together since the Penn State victory, and was extremely effective all night.
“It was great to get back out there… We played together at Penn State, and really jelled well. We communicate really well on the ice, and it’s a real treat to play with those guys.”
Head coach Greg Powers was also extremely pleased with his team’s effort tonight.
“We played with confidence, we have our swagger back. We feel like this game could have been an 8-1, or 9-1 victory,” Powers said. “We’ll take the win, and we’re moving back in the right direction.”
The Sun Devils came out firing on all cylinders in the first period getting shots on net with ease. At the 12 minute mark, the Sun Devils utilized good puck movement to get a goal. Forward Faiz Khan passed the puck to captain Colin Hekle, who then found forward Dan Styrna in the far side of the net. It was a beautiful wrister from the senior. Forward Stephen Collins then added another goal for the Sun Devils with 36.5 seconds remaining to make it a 2-0 game.
Forward Mike Sullivan kicked off the second period for UCO with a breakaway goal at 14:14. Hekle responded three minutes later as he skated from his own blue line, sped past defenders, and then cut across the net and back handed the puck for the goal. Less than a minute later, the Bronchos were able to score when forward Shane Khalaf deflected the puck off a Derek Mussey blueline slap shot.
At 6:23 Sun Devil forward Faiz Khan was able to get a power play goal when he received the puck in the slot and snuck it past Caldwell’s pads. Then Hekle added a shorthanded goal with 46.4 seconds remaining in the period. Hekle blocked a shot on ASU’s blue line, then had a break away and went top shelf to give the Sun Devils a 5-2 lead. The Bronchos, however, were still able to take advantage of the power play, as Khalaf found the back of the net with eight seconds left in the period.
The score was 5-3 heading into the third period and the Sun Devils maintained that lead in the third period to close out the game with the win.
“We have plenty of time to start the uphill climb, to reach the peak going into Nationals. That’s been our number one goal all year, is to be peaking come March 1,” Powers said.
Next up, the Sun Devils will host Rhode Island on Friday and Saturday to close out the month of January.