The Sun Devils’ undefeated streak in the ACHA came to an end tonight as they fell to No. 3 Robert Morris University by a score of 5-3.
Despite out-shooting the Eagles 28-26, the Sun Devils struggled to get into an offensive rhythm all night.
“It’s a good lesson for our guys because they can’t just show up and expect to win. We can’t use the excuse that we were short, we were short a lot of guys,” head coach Greg Powers said. “We got away from just putting shots on goal. We had 15 shots in two periods we’ve never had that.”
ASU entered the third period trailing 4-0. However, in the final nine minutes in the game they were able to score three times to make it a 4-3 game with 1:47 left to play. After the third goal, ASU pulled goaltender Corey Frank to gain a 6-on-5 advantage.
But ASU’s hopes of orchestrating the comeback came to an end after Eagle captain Christopher Cimoch put in the empty netter with 59 seconds left.
“We had a little bit of hope at the end, but we couldn’t finish,” forward Kale Dolinski said. “They won puck battles. We were terrible, we couldn’t control the puck. They just wanted it more, you could see it in their eyes. They wanted to knock off number one and they did.”
Robert Morris struck first in the game as forward Tony Domico was able to poke the puck into the net on a rebound to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead.
The Sun Devils struggled to get shots on net for the remainder of the period, and they did not have any close scoring chances until forward Stephen Collins scored on an incredible top shelf goal against Eagle goaltender Anthony Petrak as time expired. The goal was waved off, however, as Collins had been ruled offsides on the play. The Eagles outshot the Sun Devils by a margin of 10-6 after the first period.
ASU’s offensive struggles continued in the second period as they were only able to get nine shots on net. The Eagles, on the other hand, were able to capitalize on Arizona State’s mistakes. Five minutes into the period, Chris Portello broke away from the Sun Devil defense, crossed over and backhanded a goal into the net past goaltender Kyle Dietrich.
Three minutes after that, the Eagles got on the board again when Rock Eirensen put a rebound in from Domico. It only took another minute for the scoring flurry to continue for RMU, as Gehrett Sargis took stole the puck at center ice, and scored through Dietrich’s five-hole to make the game 4-0.
After the goal, Dietrich was replaced by goaltender Corey Frank.
In the third period, Dolinski, Danny McAuliffe, and Collin Hekle all got goals, but it was too little, too late for the Arizona State Sun Devils.
It sets a somber mood in Tempe, as the loss marks the Devils’ final game before Christmas break. The team will resume play in late December when they take a road trip to Canada and then they will be back home in early January once the second semester starts.