(Photo: Allyson Cummings/WCSN)
The Arizona State Sun Devil hockey team defeated the San Diego State Aztecs 12-1 on Friday night at Oceanside Ice Arena.
The Sun Devils struck quickly in the first period, netting their first goal of the season just 63 seconds into the game. Jarrod Levos took a nice feed from Danny McAuliffe and uncorked a wrister from the side. Junior goalie Filip Curkovic got a piece of it, but allowed the puck to squeak by, allowing senior captain Kale Dolinski to find twine and give Arizona State an early lead.
Freshman forward Sean Murphy showed the crowd at Oceanside Ice Arena why they should be excited for the future of this program, putting up two goals in the first period. The first came about six and a half minutes into the game on an excellent pass across the net by Faiz Khan. The next goal, however, was all Murphy. Murphy took a feed from Levos on the left side of the net, then made a move to the front and lifting the puck into the net to give ASU a three goal lead.
“Our team played well tonight, definitely,” Murphy said after the game, “but we can definitely improve.”
San Diego State did not go away easily, however. Curkovic made some great stops, taking away many more opportunities from the Sun Devil offense.
ASU was even stronger in the second period, netting five goals. The first came just over five minutes in, as freshman Patrick Yudez netted his first career goal, unassisted. About ninety seconds later, Liam Norris extended ASU’s lead to five goals.
In a game with many great passes and pretty goals, the Sun Devils’ eighth goal of the night was by far the prettiest. Freshman Zackary Holstrom sped through defenders, taking the puck deep into the Aztec defensive zone, then made an amazing pass while spinning down to the ice, finding the tape on Chris Burkemper’s stick, allowing the forward to just tip the puck past Curkovic for the goal.
“I was just a little nervous tonight, since this was my first college game and I didn’t really know what to expect,” Holstrom remarked. “It took me a little bit to get going, but once I did it really started working out for me.”
The Sun Devils added a power play goal at the end of the third and three more goals in the third stanza to bring the advantage to eleven and seal the easy victory over the Aztecs.
“You want to have a balanced attack,” ASU head coach Greg Powers said after the game, “but who are you going to key in on? If you key our first and second lines, our third and fourth lines are good enough to beat you, as we showed today. You can’t ask for much more.”
“Our team is good, but we’ve got to stay focused,” Powers added.
First year players provided a big spark for Arizona State tonight, netting four of the team’s twelve goals tonight.
“[The freshmen] were awesome. Murphy and Burkemper and Holstrom… they were all great,” Powers said.
Goalie Joe D’Elia played well in net tonight, allowing only one goal on eighteen shots faced. D’Elia was the center of some concern towards the end of the game, after he fell to the ice with an apparent injury. The junior goalie stayed in the game and Powers said that he is fine.
The Sun Devils and Aztecs will face off again on Saturday night at Oceanside, with a start time of 7:30 p.m.