In a night centered around penalties and special teams, it was the rookies who came to the forefront and shined for Arizona State, winning 4-1 over the Northern Alberta Institute of Techonology.. Freshman winger Johnny Walker led the team and earned first-star honors following a two-point night in his ASU debut.
Here’s what we tookaway
The Power play
While the Sun Devils managed to put up four goals on NAlT standout goalie Nathan Park, they failed to take advantage of multiple power play opportunities leaving something to be desired.
Both Brinson Pasichnuk and Johnny Walker agreed that although the power play had its bright spots it was a bit of a disappointment. Head coach Greg Powers, on the other hand, thought that the power play looked good and were it not for some shots that hit the post it would have been a different story.
“A couple bounces and I think we’re singing a different tune regarding the first unit,” Powers said. “But they did some good things too.”
The power play certainly wasn’t perfect but it did lead to two ASU goals and eventually helped them clinch the victory.
Another key aspect of the Sun Devils’ win was the performance by both ASU net minders. Joey Daccord started the game and let in just one goal in 10 shots before handing the reigns off to Ryland Pashovitz who allowed no goals on the 10 shots he faced.
“I was bummed that we let one up but we expected some jitters in the start,” Powers said. “One of the really shining moments was how both of our goalies played.”
The biggest positive from tonight overall was undoubtedly the rookies. ASU started seven players tonight making their debut and just about all of them made a splash.
Johnny Walker, as mentioned earlier, had a monster game notching the games first goal and following that up with an assist on the second goal of the game. Graduate transfer Gage Hough picked up an assist on the night along with some good work on the penalty kill and Filips Buncis scored his first collegiate goal in a game where he dominated the physical play.
Although the chemistry may not have been all there tonight, the Sun Devils certainly picked up their play as the game progressed and showed that they’re a team not to be taken lightly this season.