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ASU Hockey: Sun Devils drop season finale to U.S. U-18 team 5-2

In the final game of the 2015-16, the Sun Devils couldn't have a story-book ending, falling to the US U-18 team, 5-2.

Chris Safran

For the final time the season, the Arizona State Sun Devils took the ice, closing out their two game exhibition series against the United States Under-18 team.

Just like they started the year, their closed it under the lights of Gila River Arena looking for a victory. The storybook ending stopped there, as the Sun Devils couldn't start and end their season the same way, with a win at Gila River.

After a tough 60 minute battle, they dropped the final contest of the season 5-2.

"We started out on the wrong foot," said ASU coach Greg Powers. "The energy was down for whatever reason and I think a lot of that had to do with three really quick penalties. They just started with more momentum then we wanted to give them and it was not the way we needed to start games."

Both teams saved all of their first period goals from last night's physical battle, and they used them in the first tonight.

Kieffer Bellows, a potential top-15 pick in this year's NHL draft, got the scoring started for the U-18 team at even strength just 1:14 seconds into the game.

Defenseman Luke Martin added another tally on a power-play and the Sun Devils were staring at a 2-0 hole less than five and a half minutes into the contest.

Senior Liam Norris, in his final game as a Sun Devil and on senior night, tallied the first goal for the Sun Devils, cutting the lead to one and getting the Sun Devils some much needed momentum.

"It was great," Powrs said. "He had a couple shifts there late, that just summarize his career and I love the kid. We'll be close forever. So I was proud of him."

Bellows followed up his early first period goal with an even earlier second period goal, putting one in the back of the net just 47 seconds in the second frame.

That would be it for scoring, although the Sun Devils had three power play opportunities but could come away with a goal.

In their final frame of the season, it seemed as if a Sun Devil comeback was on the menu when Ryan Ostertag grabbed a turnover in front of the net and scored, pulling the deficit to within one goal. The U-18 team would respond in quick fashion, when Adam Fox scored about a minute later, pushing the lead back to two.

J.D. Greenway put the game out of reach with an empty net goal with 45 seconds left, ending the season.

It was a somber end to the Sun Devils first season as a Division I program, but this was almost meant to be a building block and it was just that.

"We believe we will be exponentially more talented [next year] and you're not going to build a Division I program overnight and we understand that but from a talent standpoint, we are excited about the direction we are heading," Powers said.