Following a night of celebration Friday came a reality check for Arizona State’s hockey Saturday night. Looking to sweep the visiting University of Massachusetts-Amherst Minutemen, the Sun Devils showed signs of life early but couldn’t execute late, costing them the game.
UMass opened up the scoring early in the first period when Jake Gaudet batted in a rebound off the pad of net minder Joey Daccord.
From that point on, ASU would be playing a game of catch-up — a game they didn’t win.
“At the end of the day we didn’t deserve to win that game, it’s that simple,” ASU head coach Greg Powers said of his team’s performance. “UMass outplayed us, they played harder and they got rewarded, that’s how this game works.”
Special teams was once again the topic of discussion as the Sun Devils’ power play woes continued into tonight failing to score on four different chances, including one late in the third period trailing by one.
“They didn’t have it going,” coach Powers added about the power play. “At the end of the day we were 0-4 on the power play, they were 0-4 on the powerplay. We didn’t technically lose the special teams battle.”
One of the few bright spots for ASU was freshman winger Johnny Walker who tallied his first official NCAA goal.
On top of his offensive abilities, Walker impacted the game with his physicality using all of his 6’1 185 lbs frame to spark his teammates.
“In the past I’ve been someone that can contribute on the offensive side,” Walker said. “Also gritty, taking the body, trying to get under the other team’s skin.”
Moving forward ASU will lean heavily on freshmen like Walker and some of his teammates, but that doesn’t change the way he approaches the game.
“Just playing a hard, simple game and just sticking to what I know.”
ASU hits the road for the next three weekends, stopping at Air Force next weekend followed by Omaha and Colgate. The Sun Devils will not to return to Oceanside until November 3 when they host the University of Alabama-Huntsville.