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ASU Hockey: Sun Devils split home series with Princeton

After a forgetful game one performance, ASU battled back to salvage a split against the visiting Tigers.

Photo by Nicole Hernandez/House of Sparky

After collecting a much needed win and tie in Massachusetts over Thanksgiving break against Holy Cross, the Arizona State Sun Devils (4-9-3) got off to a slow start when they hosted the Princeton Tigers (6-7-1).

Game One

The series opener got off to an electric start for ASU as the Devils generated a ton of attack in the first period, but couldn’t net one which eventually cost them.

Following a bad turnover in the neutral zone, Princeton converted for the first score of the game and would strike just minutes later on the power play to jump out to a 2-0 lead.

The second period wasn’t much better for ASU as the Tigers struck early to go up 3-0 and pretty much dominated the flow of the period from there, taking the three goal advantage into the third period.

The final stanza saw more life from the Sun Devils, culminating with Jake Clifford’s shot off the post, keeping the devils off the scoreboard. A place where they would remain. for the rest of the game.

Princeton went on to net one more goal for a 4-0 victory and freshman net minder Ryan Ferland’s second career shutout for the Tigers.

ASU goalie Joey Daccord played well stopping 32 of Princeton’s 36 shots but the sophomore’s efforts weren’t enough to stop the relentless Tiger attack.

One of the bigger storylines in the game was special teams as Princeton was 1/1 with the man advantage and took no penalties giving the Sun Devils no chances on the power play, a big reason for the offensive drought.

Game Two

The closing game of the series didn’t get off to much better of a start as it took Princeton just over six and a half minutes to jump out to an early lead on a great goal by Alex Riche.

Riche’s goal was the only one of the second, demanding a response in the second from ASU. A response that Tyler Busch provided on the power play just a few minutes into the period.

The Devils were swarming when Busch unleashed a nasty snapshot from the top of the circle that Princeton goal tender Ben Halford simply never saw.

The remainder of the second frame saw three more penalties, two by ASU and one by Princeton, all of which were killed off taking the game to the third tied at one.

The final regulation time period was a tumultuous one to put it mildly as the Sun Devils struck first just over a minute into the frame to give ASU the 2-1 lead.

David Norris picked up a rebound in front and deposited it in the net to give the Devils their first lead of the series.

The following 10 minutes saw back and forth action from both teams that ultimately resulted in two quick goals score by Princeton under two minutes apart to reclaim the lead, 3-2.

Looking for an equalizing goal late, Matt Nelson of Princeton took a roughing penalty with just minutes left to play. Having already scored once in the game, the Sun Devil power play went back to work.

With under a minute left, the freshman phenom Johnny Walker deflected a shot in front to tie the game up at three late, sending the game to overtime.

Once in overtime it only took David Norris a little over a minute and a half to take a slap shot that beat Halford over his shoulder for his second goal and a win for Arizona State by a final score of 4-3.

The ASU power play struck twice, a welcomed change from its recent struggles, and the penalty kill was perfect on the night, a large reason the Sun Devils were victorious.

Daccord shined once again, stopping 38 of 41 Princeton shots to keep the Devils in the game and ultimately give them a chance to win it in overtime.

The win was a much needed one for the Sun Devils as they travel to Colorado to take on Colorado College in a crucial series before they have the Three Rivers Classic at the end of the year and then the Ice Vegas Invitational after New Years.