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ASU Hockey: Sun Devils drop series opener to UMass-Lowell 4-0

Not exactly how they wanted to respond...

Photo Courtesy of Sun Devil Athletics

Coming off a historical weekend in Las Vegas at the Ice Vegas Invitational, the Arizona State Sun Devils (6-13-4) didn’t get the result they wanted in the series opener against UMass-Lowell (13-9-0).

Some of the biggest strengths the team showed in Vegas were the power play and their defensive efficiency, but neither carried over to their first game back in Arizona in 2018.

Both teams got off to a fast start in the first period but neither could find the back of the net through one.

The Sun Devils had a couple of power play chances but failed to convert on either of them and even gave up a couple of shorthanded breakaways to the River Hawks. If not for the efforts of net minder Joey Daccord in the first period, UMass-Lowell might have struck in the first.

“They just pressure, they pressure so hard and they’re so aggressive, “coach Powers said of the UMass-Lowell penalty kill’s ability to stymie the Sun Devils. “It was just a lack of execution up top to be honest.”

The second period was the turning point for ASU.

Turnovers hurt the Sun Devils in the second period as one led to an odd man rush for UMass-Lowell that resulted in the game’s first goal.

And once the River Hawks got the lead, they didn’t give it up.

“I didn’t like that goal,” coach Powers added. “It was a bad goal, it was a wrister and [Daccord] saw it...he was just on his heels and he wasn’t ready.”

A few minutes later, a seeing eye shot from the point off a face off beat the usually indefatigable Daccord who had his struggles on the night following a perfect first period.

ASU came out in the third down two but playing with a lot of confidence as they had a number of good chances early.

Its inability to finish, however, would prove costly as a misplayed puck in the defensive zone by Daccord gave a wide open goal to the River Hawks to extend the lead to 3-0.

UML would add on one more on a nice rebound play, but more importantly they kept the Sun Devils off the score sheet earning a 4-0 shutout win.

A team that has played well on Saturdays to this point, coach Powers and company will need to come out and play a lot better in game two if they want a positive result.

“Our guys are a little bit frustrated in there,” coach Greg Powers said. “But we have to reset and bounce back strong tomorrow.”

The series finale will be back at Oceanside Ice Arena with puck drop scheduled for 7:05 pm MST.