Avoiding a letdown after a dramatic 2-1 overtime win over Colorado, the Arizona State Sun Devils got three early goals Friday night and cruised to a 8-0 win over Colorado State.
Arizona State head coach Greg Powers shuffled up his lines again, and the new formations paid off as the Sun Devils (13-1-0, 4-1-0 WCHL) controlled the puck for most of the game, getting breakaways and open shots with ease.
"It was great to see the guys respond from easily our worst effort last night, and put together probably the best 60 minutes we've had all season," Powers said. "What we tried to do last night just didn't work. We try to put somebody on every line that can bring the line energy, a hard-working guy, and it seemed to work tonight."
Looking to take control early, the Sun Devil attack was aggressive from the get-go, and Arizona State notched its first goal of the night at the 13:56 mark of the first period as Ed McGovern's shot from the top of the circle rattled past the Colorado State (9-4-0, 1-2-0 WCHL) goalie. Less than two minutes later, Chris Blessing got past the Rams' blue line and found himself with a one-on-one with the goalie, which he won with a goal that extended the Sun Devil lead to 2-0.
Arizona State added another goal before the end of the period as a Jarrod Levos check on a Colorado State player freed the puck for Mak Barden to swoop in and score with 4:06 left, giving the Sun Devils a 3-0 lead at the end of the first period.
Colorado State tried to counter a strong physical push-back, but Arizona State matched the physicality with just as much of its own and the two teams went scoreless for most of the second period. With 7:22 left in the second, Liam Norris scored to push the lead to 4-0, and Ryan Belonger's goal with just over three minutes left put the game out of reach at 5-0. Even with a commanding lead, Arizona State continued to push on offense, and a scramble by the goal at the end of the period culminated in a Norris tip-in for his second goal of the night.
Already with the game in hand, Arizona State's tempo slowed down in the third period. But when given chances at adding to the lead, the Sun Devils didn't let them slip away. Kyle Bowen scored with 10:20 left and McGovern's breakaway goal with 2:31 left upped the Arizona State lead to 8-0, where it would stay till the end of regulation.
While challenged Thursday, the Sun Devils are still 2-0 to start this weekend, and a win over Colorado State Saturday night would help add to Arizona State's case to jump back up to No. 1 in next week's rankings. Powers said that goalie Robert Levin will be behind the pipes for Saturday night's game.
"We were just focused on putting three good periods together," Powers said. "We were focused on stringing together 60 minutes, and that was the first game that we have."
Three stars (as selected by media)
Third star: Mak Barden, forward, Arizona State. Picked up the game's third goal, and his third of the season.
Second star: Ed McGovern, defenseman, Arizona State. McGovern continued his strong two-way play, collecting two goals on the night.
First star: Liam Norris, forward, Arizona State. Picked up two more goals, bringing his total to seven on the season.