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ASU Hockey: Sun Devils drop series finale 4-2, get swept at Gila River Arena by Penn State

While they did manage to get on the board, there wasn’t much to celebrate for the Sun Devil faithful.

Photo Courtesy of Sun Devil Athletics

It was more of the same for Arizona State (2-8-2) tonight. as the Sun Devils fell to the Penn State Nittany Lions (8-8-0) for the second straight game by a final score of 4-2.

Once again, Joey Daccord was the big story for the Sun Devils stopping 45 of 48 shots he faced in goal, including a couple of beauties. Even with Daccord’s stellar night between the pipes, the Sun Devil offense couldn’t get him enough support to avoid the team’s third straight home loss.

“He was outstanding, he made huge saves,” coach David Powers said. “Their first goal, it was a great shot, but that’s one he definitely would want back with how well he’s playing, and then he was unflappable.”

ASU jumped off to an early start, scoring just over one minute into the game by way of a Brett Gruber one-timer set up by Johnny Walker and Dominic Garcia. The assist was Garcia’s first collegiate point and got the Sun Devils off and rolling early.

“Any line that kid’s on, he’s going to give them instant energy,” coach Powers said of the freshman out of Las Vegas. “He’s a future captain of this franchise.”

It didn’t take long; however, for Penn State to respond, as the Nittany Lions rattled off two goals in thirty seconds just five minutes later. Both first period goals were even strength for Penn state but with one coming off yet another bad turnover in the defensive zone, it sure didn’t feel that way.

On the night though, the Sun Devil penalty kill was perfect, a welcomed site following last night’s weak performance

Once the Nittany Lions took the lead, they didn’t relinquish it.

“Tonight we were down to going into the third, last night we were down two going into the third, ” coach Powers said of his team’s performance. “We knew tonight that we could come back in this game and I feel like our guys left everything they had out there.”

The second period was similar to the first period of game one, scoreless, until finally Penn State defenseman Derian Hamilton picked up a loose puck and buried it to give the visitors a two goal lead with under a minute left in the period.

The first half of the third period was quiet, then, around the halfway mark, the Sun Devils showed a pulse.

On a fast break, Joe Lappin put a shot off the pad of Penn State goalie Peyton Jones leaving a wide open net for Tyler Busch. The Sophomore made no mistake burying the rebound and drawing ASU within one.

The final 10 minutes of the period saw great chances for both sides, but neither could find the back of the net until Penn State’s empty netter to put it out of reach resulting in the 4-2 final score in favor of Penn State.

Outside of the turnovers, special teams have been the biggest thing ailing the Sun Devils this season. The power play is 5-for-52 on the season, good for 9.6 percent, and their lack of productivity is really hurting ASU late in games.

Arizona State will look to bounce back next week as they host Holy Cross back at Oceanside on Black Friday and next Saturday with puck drop scheduled for 5:05 pm MST for both games.