No. 16 Arizona State (10-6-2) got off to a promising start, but couldn’t slam the door against Omaha (8-8-2) on Sunday afternoon, as the Sun Devils fell 8-4 at the hands of the Mavs.
ASU had three different leads in the contest, but each time the Omaha offense came alive and responded in a wide open affair.
The scoring started with a goal from sophomore forward Jordan Sandhu just over a minute into the first period. However, it would be short lived as Omaha sophomore forward Taylor Ward tied things at the 6:52 mark of the first period.
ASU grabbed a 2-1 lead on a strike from sophomore forward PJ Marrocco, but once more, Omaha came back to tie things at two to start the second period.
Despite the leads that the Devils had already given up, perhaps the biggest let down was in the last five minutes of the second frame.
Things started off well, as ASU put home two goals over the span of 11 seconds. First, junior forward Johnny Walker redirected a shot to make the score 3-2, then Marrocco registered his second goal of the night on a Maverick turnover.
The Sun Devils were in good position to lock things down the rest of the way. However, they couldn’t take advantage. Omaha clawed its way back quickly, and it started off with an ASU roughing penalty for extracurriculars after the whistle had blown.
Omaha junior forward Kevin Conley scored on the ensuing man advantage, then Marrocco was caught pinching, leading to a fourth Maverick goal from sophomore forward Chayse Primeau on an odd-man, 2-on-1 rush.
To add more salt in the wound, ASU went to the power play just before the end of the second frame. It wouldn’t matter, though, as Ward scored a short-handed tally to give Omaha its first lead of the game just 47 seconds into the third period.
And when it rained, it poured for ASU. After Ward’s shorty, Omaha added three more goals to put things away and snatch a series sweep from the Devils.
For the fourth consecutive weekend, the team fell short of taking two games. Although the outcome was different from Saturday, it could be argued that ASU competed better than they did on Friday.
The team outshot Omaha 34-25, but similar to the Sun Devils the night prior, the Mavs were opportunistic and took advantage of everything they got.
Hear Coach Powers’ thoughts on tonight’s performance and looking ahead to next weekend pic.twitter.com/361W6yLK4z— Sun Devil Hockey (@SunDevilHockey) December 23, 2019
Additionally, ASU sophomore goaltender Evan DeBrouwer didn’t have his best night, as he was pulled in the third period for backup Max Prawdzik.
Despite the bitter taste of the loss, the Sun Devils still found a way to earn a split, and they will now head to Southern California for a holiday series on Dec. 28 and 29 against Harvard in a set that will be played at FivePoint Arena in Irvine.