The top ranked Sun Devils captured a 7-4 win over No. 3 Robert Morris University last night at Oceanside Arena.
ASU got a huge scoring boost from freshman forward Stephen Collins who notched his second hattrick this season.
“I was just able to get a lot of shots on net today, and I was lucky that they went in,” Collins said. “It’s a big win for us, now we just need to keep on going.”
The win maintains the team’s undefeated record in ACHA play as they are now 19-0. While Head Coach Greg Powers was pleased with the result, he believes that there is still room for improvement.
“We played hard, but we didn’t play smart, we didn’t play clean or disciplined. I think we can be a lot better,” head coach Greg Powers said. “It was good, but it could have been a lot better, and I expect it to be [tonight].”
Robert Morris got on the board first just eight minutes into the game when forward Tony Domico was able to put it past Sun Devil goaltender Joe D’Elia. ASU responded at 8:08 when Collins scored off of a rebound by Dan Styrna. Three minutes later, the Kory Chisholm goal gave the Sun Devils a 2-1 lead with a diving goal that just snuck past Eagles goaltender Andy DiCristofaro.
The Eagles remained resilient, and were able to get a goal just two minutes later when forward Gehrett Sargis five holed D’Elia. Just before the end of the period, Sun Devil defenseman Ryan Clark backhanded the puck into the net to give the team a 3-2 lead going into intermission.
In the second period, Sun Devil forward Kale Dolinski opened up the scoring at 12:21 when he went behind the net, and was able to sneak it in past DiCristofaro. This goal led to a goalie change for Robert Morris, who put Anthony Petrak in net to close out the game. Despite trailing 4-2, the Eagles still weren’t done.
With a little over five minutes left to play in the second period, Sargis was able to deke his way through two Sun Devil defenders and put it home to make it just a one score game. However, this margin only lasted for 24 seconds, as Collins was able to score the fifth goal for the Sun Devils off of a wiked wrist shot. The team led 5-3 going into the second intermission.
Collins’ impressive play continued in the third period when he was able to get his third goal of the game at 12:27. However, following the goal he was checked hard and a scuffle broke out with both teams. Two Eagles and ASU captain Colin Hekle were sent to the box to make it 5-on-4. The chippiness continued from both teams and at one point both teams had four players in the penalty box.
“I think [Robert Morris] was able to suck us in to committing dumb penalties. That was their game plan going into this game because they can’t compete with us 5-on-5, and to their credit they were able to suck us in to making unnecessary penalties,” Powers said.
In the closing minutes of the game, forward Danny McAuliffe was able to score with a wicked slap shot, and the Eagles’ Chris Pontello also added a late game goal to make the game 7-4.
Both teams will return to the ice tonight at 7 p.m. at Oceanside Ice Arena.