It was home sweet home for the Sun Devils on Friday night, as they returned to Tempe to take on Southern New Hampshire at Oceanside Ice Arena. In front of a packed crowd, the Sun Devils rallied from an early 1-0 deficit to defeat the Penmen, 9-2.
"It was great, it was good to see. Hopefully there's even more people here tomorrow, if they can stuff any more in here," Coach Greg Powers said.
The Sun Devils kicked themselves into gear after allowing an early goal. Nine minutes later, Nicholas Gushue netted one on a power play, evening things up at one. Exactly two minutes after his first goal, Gushue was mobbed by his teammates once again as he put home his second of the period and the Sun Devils took the lead and never looked back.
From there, it was all ASU. They added two more goals before the first period ended, including another power play goal. Entering tonight's contest, the Sun Devils power play had been a huge issue, with Coach Powers joking this week that he would like to change "everything" about his power play. The Sun Devils were credited with 27 first period shots, a total that eclipsed their previous game-high for shots on the season.
"We really worked on just simplifying what they're trying to do all week, putting pucks on net and getting guys to the net. It's really not rocket science. When you get shots and you're putting pucks on net, it breaks down their defensive zone coverage and they start running around, and then you can start making plays like you saw," Powers said about the success of the power play.
The second period featured more Sun Devil domination, including another power play goal when Ryan Ostertag joined the scoring for the Sun Devils, his first goal since returning from an upper-body injury that sidelined him for most of last year.
"It feels really good, to get that first goal out of the way means a lot. I'm just getting my feet under me a little bit more. As we go, I get a little more confident each week," Ostertag said.
He missed a chance to add a highlight reel goal to his tally, losing the puck just before he could get the shot off.
"It kinda just flipped onto my backhand, I think I put it out of the rink, so it's my own fault," the junior said about the missed opportunity.
It was no different for the Sun Devils in the third, adding two more goals while allowing their second of the night. Sean Murphy added his first tally on a nifty-looking goal after waiting out Penmen goalie David Letarte. Murphy slid the puck between Letarte's pads as he moved from post to post. The Sun Devils finished the night with 54 shots on goal.
David Jacobson got the nod for the Sun Devils in net, making his first NCAA start and he made 15 saves on 17 shots. Coach Powers said in his post-game press conference that he more than likely will go back to Jacobson tomorrow night.
These two teams will meet again Saturday night, with the Sun Devils looking to continue the success they found tonight.