STRONGSVILLE, Ohio– When a team's starting goalie goes down, it will either need a great performance by the backup or an onslaught of goals.
ASU got both Friday night in the first game of the national tournament. Behind Eric Rivard's four-goal night and Lucas Felbel allowing only a single goal, ASU took care of Colorado 6-1 to advance to the quarterfinals.
"We got one game down now, we got three more," Rivard said. "There's no time to think about scoring. It's over. Obviously it's good, I'm glad the boys played well, my linemates, most credit goes to them."
Rivard was dialed in from the beginning on that line, recording an assist on the first goal of the game from Liam Norris. Rivard played opposite David Norris on the line centered by Liam, and the trio combined for 16 points. Rivard had a career-high four goals and two assists while David had a goal and five assists. Liam had a goal and three assists.
"That line is going to have to perform for us to win another national championship, just like they did tonight, three more games in a row," coach Greg Powers said. "We'll take it."
Between the pipes, Felbel turned in a performance that will re-instill to fans any faith lost after the injury to Robert Levin. He did not know he would be starting until about five hours before the puck dropped, but said he was ready to go.
"I've been preparing for this all year," Felbel said. "So when opportunity knocks, I'll be ready answer."
Felbel allowed a goal from a sharp-angle shot at the goal line in the second, but locked it down after that. After that period, ASU was clinging to a 2-1 lead going into the second intermission, and seemed like a bounce or two could cause an upset.
Then ASU scored twice in the opening minute of the third, six seconds apart from one another. Shortly after, Felbel had a slick glove save then looked defiantly at the Buffaloes as if to say "It's over."
And sure enough, it was. Two more Rivard goals and ASU cruised to its 6-1 final. Rivard's third goal marked his third hat trick of the season.
"It takes the pressure right off," Felbel said of getting a five-goal lead. "To score twice in the opening minute is huge."
Powers said Felbel will start ASU's quarterfinal game Sunday, when it will play the winner of Adrian and Lindenwood. That game will start at 1 p.m. Arizona time.
Third star: Liam Norris, forward, Arizona State. One goal, three assists.
Second star: David Norris, forward, Arizona State. One goal, five assists.
First star: Eric Rivard, forward, Arizona State. Four goals, two assists.