The second-ranked Arizona State hockey team completed its first ever sweep against No. 6 Lindenwood this weekend. After a challenging and rather exciting Friday night slug fest, the Sun Devils controlled the majority of the game against the Lions in the series finale.
Cronkite Sports has two words for you. Stephen Collins.
Saturday night’s 5-3 victory over Lindenwood quickly became referred to as the Stephen Collins show because he was phenomenal on the ice. Collins finished the night with two goals and an assist for the Sun Devils.
After poor defensive showings from both teams in the first game, each decided to start different goaltenders to get a new look. ASU goaltender Joe D’Elia finished Friday night with a win but just a 78-percent save percentage to his credit. The Sun Devils gave the nod to Corey Frank and the Lions opted to start Kirk Croswell, who beat ASU in Tempe last season.
With six minutes left in the opening period, senior Jeremy Meletti scored his second goal of the season on a shot ASU goaltender Corey Frank wishes he could have back.
Friday night, the specialty teams played a crucial role for both teams. The Sun Devils went two for six on the power play, while the Lions converted an impressive four of their six chances.
About a minute after Meletti’s goal, the Lions’ Eric Combs was penalized two minutes for hooking and the Sun Devils were looking to capitalize on their second power play opportunity of the period.
As the penalty expired and Combs left the box, Danny McAuliffe sniped his second goal in as many days to tie the game before the intermission. The alternate captain scored both of his goals this weekend from the slot, beating the goaltender top shelf.
Collins played alongside captain Colin Hekle and fellow newcomer Brian McGinty for the majority of the night and he dazzled the crowd. Collins was responsible for the second, third and fourth goals of the contest. The Lindenwood Lions came to Tempe prepared to win, but there was no chance of dousing Collins from the inferno.
Jordan Young scored during 4-on-4 hockey midway through the second period and then Collins scored on the power play to put ASU up 3-1. It did not take the Lions long before Meletti scored his second of the night to bring it within one before the final twenty minutes of hockey.
Stephen Collins put the maroon and gold up by two goals in the third period, but Lindenwood did make it interesting. With 45 seconds remaining in the game, senior Zach Glazer found the back of the net during the power play. The rebound found Glazer’s stick during 6-on-4 hockey, but it was not enough to get the Lions back in the game.
Hekle soon sealed the sweep against Lindenwood with an empty net goal. The Sun Devils improved to 7-0-0 with the win while Lindenwood dropped to 1-2-3 on the season. Lindenwood suffered its fifth loss of the season, which is the most they had all of last season.
Next up, the Sun Devils will host D2 opponent San Diego State on Friday and Saturday nights.