The top ranked Sun Devils suffered their second consecutive loss tonight after falling 4-2 to No. 17 University of Central Oklahoma.
ASU held a 2-1 lead late in the third, but they were unable to close out the game. The Bronchos scored three goals in the last six minutes of the game to pull off the upset.
“I feel like this is a game we should have won…we literally, in the last seven minutes invented a new way to lose a hockey game,” head coach Greg Powers said. “Guys have to revert back and find that killer instinct.”
Four minutes into the final period, ASU defenseman Darcy Charrois was able to score the go-ahead goal to make it a 2-1 game. However, Riley Spraggs tied the game up for the Bronchos at 6:10 with a power play goal. Two minutes later, Spraggs struck again when he deked his way through the defense and sent the puck top shelf past ASU goaltender Corey Frank. After the goal, both teams started pushing and shoving, which resulted in Sun Devil forward Brian McGinty getting a double minor penalty and he would spend the rest of the game in the penalty box and his team down a goal.
This meant that UCO would close out the game with a 5-on-4 advantage. With 1:57 left in the game, both teams got into a skirmish again which resulted in two UCO players going to the box, as well as Sun Devil forward Stephen Collins. This meant that the rest of the game would finish with 4-on-4 hockey. Powers called a timeout and decided to pull Frank out of the net. ASU was unable to score with the man advantage, and UCO scored an empty net goal as time expired.
“They scored on their chances and we didn’t. It just comes down to that,” captain Colin Hekle said. “If we just quit with the excuses, and just play our game, play our system, and put in a full 110 percent we’ll be good.”
The first period went by scoreless, with UCO out shooting ASU 14-8. The Sun Devils had a couple of close chances but failed to score. Hekle had a breakaway opportunity with five minutes left, and a point-blank shot at 2:43 but both were saved by Bronchos goaltender Tory Caldwell. The Bronchos were nearly able to score at the nine minute mark after Frank bobbled a rebound which nearly skidded over the red line.
In the second period, ASU got on the board first. UCO forward Jordan Bledsoe went to the box at 8:19, and one minute and 42 seconds later forward Nolan Grauer committed a penalty as well. This gave ASU the 5-on-3 man advantage, which defenseman Darcy Charrois was able to capitalize on. Charrois one-timed a pass from Brian Parson into the net to give ASU the 1-0 lead at 6:19.
Three minutes later, the Bronchos answered when senior forward Luke Ward was able to score. Ward skated past the left side of the net and let loose a shot from a bad angle. The puck then slipped past Frank’s pads, hit the far post, and skidded across the line to make the game 1-1. The score remained tied going into the third.
Both teams will return to the ice Saturday night at Oceanside Arena at 7 p.m.