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Let's Eat! Hockey Feasts on Badgers in 8-5 Win

Nov 28, 2020

MADISON, Wisc. -- The Sun Devils feast on the Badgers in an explosion of offense to secure their first win of the season, edging out the No. 14/15 Badgers, 8-5, at LaBahn Arena on Saturday night. 

Two Sun Devils led the Arizona State (1-3-1) goal-scoring charge against Wisconsin (4-3-0): junior forward Demetrios Koumontzis notched two goals early in the game while senior forward Willie Knierim came in clutch in the 3rd period with his own short-handed goal and empty-netter to snuff the Badgers.

"It's big. That team, they can score, they're so talented, even with some of their guys out, they still had their top line tonight, so it's (the win) a big weight off the guys shoulders," said head coach Greg Powers. "Now we just have to continue to push forward and build off it. Come back tomorrow and get another win."

The victory came with a big night of firsts: Koumontzis collected his first multi-goal game of his career, freshmen Matthew Kopperud and Benji Eckerle etched their first collegiate goals, senior James Sanchez scored his first goal of the season, freshman forward Ryan O'Reilly assisted on a goal for the first time in his collegiate career, and sophomore Tanner Hickey netted his first goal as a Sun Devil.

In a massive team effort, thirteen different skaters had a hand in the eight goals for the Sun Devils - tied for the most goals scored in a game by the Sun Devils in program history. 

The Sun Devils will face the Badgers for game two Sunday night at 5 p.m. ET/3 p.m. MT on FOX Sports Arizona.
 


 
HOW IT HAPPENED:
First period: 2-2

  • Wisconsin opened the scoring at 2:35 of the first period.
  • Freshman forward Matthew Kopperud scored his first collegiate goal early in the first period to knot the game at 1-1. Junior forward Jordan Sandhu and O'Reilly tallied an assist - his first collegiate assist. 
  • The Badgers answered back less than 10 minutes later with another one slipped past Sun Devil freshman goaltender Cole Brady. 
  • Down 2-1 in the first period, Koumontzis scored at the backdoor seconds after a Sun Devil power play ended. It was Koumontzis' first goal of the season and his first tally since scoring against Alaska on November, 9, 2019. Kopperud got his second point of the night with the assist as senior defenseman Jacob Wilson earned the secondary assist. 

Second period: 5-2

  • The Sun Devils came blazing into the second period, as senior forward James Sanchez stood at the top of the circle and netted the third goal of the night - and his first on the season - just over 90 seconds into the period. O'Reilly earned the assist for the second time on the night. 
  • Ten minutes into the second period, Koumontzis recorded his first multi-goal game in his collegiate career after netting his second goal of the game with an assist from Kopperud and Sanchez.
  • A mere 25 seconds after Koumontzis doubled ASU's lead, sophomore d-man Tanner Hickey added another for good measure, sending a snipe shot from the blue line. Hickey scored his first goal as a Sun Devil, with the assist from Sanchez to extend the lead to 5-2. 

Third period: 8-5

  • Freshman Benji Eckerle scored his first collegiate goal to put the Sun Devils ahead by four. Eckerle scored on a backdoor pass from sophomore defenseman Jack Judson. Sophomore Jax Murray notched the secondary assist, also recording his first collegiate point to extend the Sun Devil lead, 6-2.
  • The Badgers added three goals pulling within one goal with four minutes left. 
  • Knierim got his first point of the season with a shorthanded goal. Eckerle earns the assist and his second point of the night. 
  • With 60 seconds left in the game, Knierim netted his second goal in an empty-netter as the Sun Devils finished round one against the Badgers with an 8-5 win. 

GAME NOTES:

  • Last time ASU scored a shorthanded goal was on December 21, 2019 at Omaha (5-4).  
  • The Sun Devils finished 0-for-1 on the power play and the Badgers went 0-for-3. Shots were 37-38. 
  • Brady put up a .868 save percentage with 33 saves on 38 shots for the Sun Devils.
  • The last meeting between the Sun Devils and Badgers was February 22, 2020 with the Badgers winning 6-2.
  • The Sun Devils tied things up in the first period 46 seconds after the Badgers scored, the shortest time between ASU and opponent goals this season. 
  • The Sun Devils' fourth and fifth goals of the night came within 25 seconds of each other, the shortest time between ASU goals this season. 
  • Last time ASU chased an opposing goaltender in his home rink was January 28, 2017 in 4-2 win over Quinnipiac. 
  • Saturday's victory is the program's first win against Wisconsin. The series stands at 1-4-0.
  • Knierim's short-hander was his first goal since February 7, 2020 at Holy Cross and first multi goal game since Feb. 1, 2020 at Robert Morris