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ASU Hockey: Sun Devils fend off No. 18 Michigan State to earn game one victory

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Wild third period

Richard Martinez/House of Sparky

Despite letting a two-goal lead in the third period slip away, Arizona State (9-4-2) stayed to its game plan and was able to come out with a 4-3 victory against Michigan State (8-8-1) on Saturday night in East Lansing.

After two periods, the Sun Devils held a 3-1 advantage. However, the Spartans didn’t go away easily, and they were able to punch home two goals to knot the score at three. Despite the let down, ASU wouldn’t let that faze them.

With just over five minutes left in the third period, junior forward Johnny Walker redirected a shot from defenseman Jarrod Gourley. It trickled into the back of the net, and it would be the eventual game-winner for the Sun Devils.

As for what occurred earlier in the game, ASU jumped out to a 2-0 advantage in the first period. The first goal came on somewhat of a fortunate bounce for the Devils, as sophomore forward PJ Marrocco feathered a saucer pass that was intended for junior forward Willie Knierim.

The pass never got through, but it kicked off the leg of a sprawling MSU defender and into the back of the net. Then at the 16:40 mark of the first, the Sun Devils took advantage of a Spartan turnover at their own blue line.

While trying to break the puck out of its own zone, Michigan State coughed up a pass to Sun Devil junior forward Dom Garcia right in the middle of the ice. Junior forward James Sanchez jumped up, and Garcia dished out a feed to the Michigan transfer in the slot.

He didn’t miss. Sanchez deposited a wrist shot on the low blocker side of Michigan State goaltender John Lethemon, giving the Sun Devils the 2-0 lead.

Michigan State cut the deficit in half in the second period with a goal from junior forward Tommy Apap, but the Devils answered right back on a quick snipe from junior defenseman Jacob Wilson off of a face-off.

That made the score 3-1. The Spartans made their third period push, but ASU weathered the storm and they were able to come out on top.

The Spartan goal to tie things up at three came courtesy of a fortuitous bounce that rimmed off the side glass and caromed perfectly onto the stick of Spartan freshman forward Nico Muller.

The puck landed right in front of ASU sophomore goaltender Evan DeBrouwer, and Muller took advantage of his opportunity, burying it past the Sun Devil goaltender.

Regardless of the unfortunate sequence, Walker came back with his game-winning score, and ASU prevailed.

The Devils go for the sweep of the No. 18 team in the country tomorrow afternoon at 3 p.m. local time.