When you're 0-7 on the power play and about to go on the penalty kill for the third time on the night tied late in the third, you don't like the odds. But to paraphrase Han Solo, never tell Arizona State the odds.
The odds are not in favor of a short-handed, game-winning goal but Sean Murphy didn't care. He collected the rebound on a shot from Drew Newmeyer and went top-shelf with 2:38 left in the third for the Sun Devils' fourth goal of the game, breaking the 3-3 tie. Arizona State went on to beat Minot State 5-3.
"I just went for the rebound and it hopped right to me," Murphy said. "The goalie seemed to have lost the puck so I kin of slid it in."
The power play was a weak point for the Sun Devils (17-2-0) on the night. The maligned unit was unable to score a goal with the man advantage until Ryan Belonger iced the game with an empty-netter with 50 seconds left.
Coach Greg Powers said the team was never able to get into flow on the power play. The Sun Devils had two five-men units, and the problem came when the two changed.
"There just was no consistency," Powers said. "One unit would move it around and keep things simple and put pucks on net, and then the other would go out and we've have poor puck support down low.
"We're really going to go into film and fix that for tomorrow."
While it wasn't good with the extra man, it made up for it by being strong down a man. Arizona State gave up a power play goal early in the second period.
The Sun Devils jumped out to an early lead, scoring two goals within the first seven minutes if the game. The first, 3:39 into the game, was a redirection from defenseman Jordan Young, his first of the season.
"Good to finally get it," Young said.
The second was the reward of a max-effort shift by forward Kyle Bowen. He batted away a centering pass in the defensive zone, skated down and completed the shift with his second goal of the season.
But Minot State scored the next two before the period ended. Flashbacks to Sunday had to have come to Arizona State, where it blew a 3-0 lead to Stony Brook, especially when Minot State (10-7-0) pulled ahead early in the second. The Sun Devils responded 22 seconds later to tie it, where it stayed until Murphy's goal.
With the win, Arizona State avoided losing back-to-back games for the first time since Feb. 15-16, 2013, or two seasons ago. The opponent: Minot State.
Three stars (as selected by media)
Third star: Kyle Bowen, forward, Arizona State. A fantastic shift in the first period got him a goal, and played strong throughout.
Second star: Jordan Young, defenseman, Arizona State. He netted his first goal of the season, and played strong defensively, seemingly blocking a shot on every shift.
First star: Sean Murphy, forward, Arizona State. Game-winning, short-handed goals late in the game are almost always good reason to take the first star.