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ASU Hockey: Sun Devils survive UMass Minutemen, 5-3

The Sun Devils showed moments of brilliance in their opening night win, but almost gave it away late.

Photo by Nicole Hernandez/House of Sparky

It was a night to remember in Tempe, Arizona, as the Arizona State Sun Devils (1-0) kicked off the 2017-18 season against the University of Massachusetts at Amherst (0-1).

In a game that started out with a lot of back and forth action, it was the “captain’s line” and the team’s top defensive pair that propelled ASU to victory, 5-3.

After a fast and physical start to the game for both teams it was veteran defenseman Jakob Stridesberg that broke the stalemate with 10:43 remaining in the first period.

After that; however, it turned into the “Louie Rowe Show”.

Rowe got an assist on the Stridesberg goal at the beginning of the game but once UMass tied it up at one late in the first period, he took matters into his own hands.

“It felt good, but I was way more concerned with winning our first game here and starting off right for the team,” Rowe said of his performance tonight. “This is only game one so we’ve still got more from here.”

Following a power play goal by Brinson Pasichnuk late in the second period to give ASU a 2-1 lead, Rowe scored a goal of his own a minute later with just seconds remaining to add to the ASU buffer.

It wasn’t just Rowe though, the entire line referred to as “the captains line” made up of Louie Rowe, Dylan Hollman, and Anthony Croston produced for ASU tonight.

“That’s why they all have letters, right?” coach Greg Powers said. “They’re just a really good line, they’re tough to handle. There’s not that many teams that can handle them.”

Rowe finished the night with four points (one goal and three assists).

On the defensive side of the puck, net minder Joey Daccord impressed in the season-opener allowing just 3 goals and keeping ASU in the game when the power play struggled to generate goals.

Outside of the crease; however, the Sun Devils’ penalty kill stood out, killing off every UMass power play and keeping ASU in the game.

“We put a lot of work into it this week,” coach Powers added about the penalty kill. “Those guys did well, we had a good rotation going, it was kind of by committee and it was good.”

The win didn’t come without a little bit of excitement; however, as two late goals by the Minutemen made it a 4-3 game with just a few minutes left to play. Once UMass pulled their goalie an empty-netter by Dylan Hollman effectively ended that comeback and clinched ASU’s victory.

The Sun Devils will finish up their series against UMass tomorrow night at Oceanside Ice Arena in Tempe with puck drop set for 7:00 pm MST.