From the first drop of the puck, everyone packed inside Oceanside Ice Arena in Tempe were treated to a very fast and physical matchup.
As the Arizona State Sun Devils made history by playing their home Division I game. In the end, seven penalties doomed the Sun Devils as they fell to the Connecticut Huskies, 5-2.
"Well we just don't have much puck luck," said ASU coach Greg Powers. "I think a lot of it stems from we struggle to score. That's a young team playing at a level that we've never played at before and having a hard time finding the back of the net so guys are gripping their sticks just really tight."
The first period set the pace for the rest of the game, as the first whistle didn't blow until over four minutes had passed in the first period. The game kept swinging back and forth, going end-to-end with quality chances for both sides. The Sun Devils arguably had the best opportunity of the period when Ryan Belonger intercepted a pass and went the other way on a breakaway.
Belonger's shot ended up going high, with the Sun Devils were still looking for their first goal on the evening.
David Jacobson, who made his first career NCAA Division I start Tuesday night, was fantastic in the first period. The freshman came up with a number of athletic stops to keep the game scoreless through one.
The second period had the speed and the physicality of the first period, but added in the scoring. The Huskies scored just 53 seconds into the period after Patrick Kirtland redirected a puck past Jacobson. They would add two more before the period was over, and the Sun Devils would get one back off the stick of Jordan Masters.
In the final frame, the Huskies added on two more goals, including one off of a major penalty on Belonger. With the puck in the UConn end, Belonger hit defenseman Joona Kunnas, who had fallen down to one knee, sending him crashing into the boards. Kunnas was laying on the ice motionless for a few moments before being able to leave with the help of the trainers.
Arizona Coyotes prospect Max Letunov tallied two assists for the Huskies and also won 10 of 14 faceoffs in the dot.
Masters was the star for the Sun Devils on the night, netting home both of the goals, including one right after being hit hard into the boards himself.
"[Masters is] a hell of a player," Powers said. "He's producing on a team that struggles to produce. I don't want to say he's doing it all on his own, but I mean, he kind of is."
The power play looked better tonight for the Sun Devils, as they tallied both of their goals with the man-advantage.
"We came out and scored two power play goals tonight, so our power play has been struggling, especially against our Division I opposition and we got two tonight," Powers said. We can take that and build off of it."
It's a quick turn-around for ASU, as the Sun Devils will head out to Gila River Arena for the inaugural Desert Hockey Classic matchup on Friday.