Led by freshmen scoring, big penalty kills, and timely goaltending, Arizona State (4-3) fended off No. 9 Quinnipiac (4-2) 5-3 on Friday night.
The Bobcats struck first just three minutes and 18 seconds into the first period, but it wouldn’t last long. Junior forward Jacob Wilson answered two minutes later, then freshman forward Logan Jenuwine sniped home a power play goal from the slot. It would be one of two goals on the night.
“I thought both teams were good,” said ASU head coach Greg Powers. “Anytime you can can beat a top-10 team, you don’t have anything to complain about.”
Two of the biggest sequences in the game for the Sun Devils didn’t stem from goals and scoring. Rather, it was the penalty kill in crucial moments.
The first PK occurred late in the first period when ASU held a 2-1 advantage. The team was forced to kill a five-minute major. ASU sophomore forward Demetrios Koumontzis was assessed a call for checking in the back of a Quinnipiac skater as both players went tumbling into the corner boards.
Powers explained what he saw, and heard from the referees on the play.
“I think their feet got a little tied up, but where Komo (Koumontzis) went wrong was that his hand was on his back,” Powers said. “You can’t do that. You can’t have hands on him and sticks up. It’s going to get called, and it wouldn’t have shocked me if it was a two-minute penalty. I thought a five was a little excessive...But it is what it is. We got through it. The officials explained what they saw.”
Without one of the Sun Devils’ top forwards, they were forced to face a dangerous Quinnipiac offensive unit up 2-1. The group got through it and killed the penalty in its entirety, and it created momentum for the rest of the second period.
Just a little after the kill, sophomore defenseman Josh Maniscalco buried a shot up high on a one-timer from senior defenseman Brinson Pasichnuk.
That made things 3-1 heading into the final 20 minutes.
The second penalty kill happened at the very end of the game. Up 5-3 after Quinnipiac had just scored, ASU killed a 6-on-3 with an extra Bobcat attacker and an empty net with just under two minutes remaining.
In the final moments, sophomore defenseman Jarrod Gourley had a blocked shot, and senior forward Tyler Busch blocked two shots in a row to seal the victory.
“They were amazing tonight,” said sophomore goaltender Evan DeBrouwer of the penalty kill. “At the end, it was just mayhem and a lot of pucks I couldn’t see, and they probably would have gone in if it wasn’t for the guys laying their body on the line. It was a great buy-in tonight, but it’s been like that all year.”
DeBrouwer himself, made 35 saves on the evening, and those two moments would stand out in a Sun Devil win over a top-10 team.
As for the offense, the scoring came in bunches, and the freshmen class impressed. Freshman defenseman Jack Judson scored his first collegiate goal, and his freshmen counterpart Jacob Semik had two assists. Additionally, Jenuwine’s goals showed flashes of why he was so highly-touted in juniors coming out of the North American Hockey League.
“Every class we bring in is exponentially talented...It takes time for freshmen, but Semik was really good tonight, and Juddy (Judson), that’s what he does,” Powers said. “Then obviously, this kid (Jenuwine) popped 60 goals last year. We know what we have.”
Playing in his seventh collegiate game, Jenuwine gave all the credit to everyone around him, including the person who coaches him in the weight room - Head of Sports Performance for Olympic Sports, Liane Blyn.
“Liane has been kicking my butt since I got here, but I feel a lot better on the ice and I think that’s showing,” Jenuwine said. “I just hope that I keep doing that and I get better each and every day.”
Among other side notes, sophomore Connor Stuart was suited up as ASU’s extra skater as a defenseman. However, due to Koumontzis’ absence, he moved up to forward and played valuable minutes to help in a team victory.
After trailing early in the first, the Devils’ responded. Then after Quinnipiac cut into ASU’s two-goal lead in the third period, they punched right back again to make things 5-2. Every time it seemed like the Bobcats had a chance to spur a comeback and get over the hump, they were knocked right back down.
Altogether, ASU strung together a performance it had been looking for, and they knocked off a top-10 team.
“The biggest thing I like about tonight is they cut it to 3-2...A lot of teams would start to pucker up a little bit. We didn’t. We shoved it right back down their throat and popped two goals in,” Powers said. “It was impressive, that push back that we had. Our guys weren’t going to let us lose this game.”