After Friday night’s 11-0 “cake walk” victory, the Sun Devils (9-17-2) endured a more competitive 4-1 defeat over Southern New Hampshire (11-10).
The Penmen kept it close tying the game at 1-1 in the first period. Then, SNHU trailed by no more than two goals until the final minute of play.
But even the tightest of margins in a win to an NCAA Division II team count. And this weekend, it counted towards Arizona State’s first home sweep of the season.
“It was the exact opposite of last night where last night everything we put on net went in,” said coach Greg Powers. “We’ve been in their shoes where you get one crack in a game like this against a Division I team and they left it all out there.”
On Friday, the Maroon and Gold fired 60 shots at Southern New Hampshire scoring 11 of them. On Saturday night, ASU had four goals on 50 shots.
In both games, the Penmen juggled three different goalies. In the first game, it was a disaster, but in game two the goalie trio allowed just three goals. The fourth score came as an empty netter with 56 seconds remaining.
“Tonight, they got great goaltending,” Powers said. “They had an interesting strategy that I had never seen, but kept their guys fresh in net.”
While the Sun Devils haven’t had an official first-string goalie all season, Powers put senior Robert Levin between the pipes for the third game in a row. And after a two-game performance of letting in just one goal with a .969 series save percentage, Powers considered Levin the team’s starting goalie.
“He’s earned it,” Powers said. “He’s great to have for those other two kids (freshman Joey Daccord and sophomore Ryland Pashovitz) because they’re both young and I think what they could take away from playing a year with him is just how hard he works everyday in practice.
“He doesn’t care what the score is, he just wants to win. And that’s what we’ll miss most about him.”
Offensively, four different Sun Devil sophomores found the net. Forward Dylan Hollman struck first 6:23 into the game. In the second period, both forward Jack Rowe and defenseman Jakob Stridsburg scored. And forward Anthony Croston found his seventh goal of the year on an empty net.
But not a single goal was scored by Arizona State on all four of its power play chances. The Maroon and Gold went 0-7 playing up a man the whole weekend.
“We had tons of chances on it missing nets and I think there was probably a little bit more time and space on the power play against these guys than our guys were used to,” Powers said. “They did actually get into some bad habits and tried to force passes that just weren’t there.”
The Sun Devils jump back onto their rough schedule on the road against two college hockey elites. First, will be two games in Connecticut against No. 15 Quinnipiac on Jan. 27 and 28. The following weekend, on Feb. 3 and 4, the Sun Devils travel to No. 14 Western Michigan.