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No Luck Needed, Hockey Stays Hot in South Bend

Dec 3, 2020

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The No. 20 Arizona State men's ice hockey team won game one of the series at Compton Family Ice Arena against the No. 13/16 Notre Dame, 6-3. The Fighting Irish chased the Sun Devil lead the entire 60 minutes, but ASU continued to work both sides of the ice, extending their lead by two in the final frame. 

In only the second series matchup against Notre Dame (2-3-0) in program history, Ryan O'Reilly started off the scoring spree for the Sun Devils (3-3-1), setting a program record for quickest goal scored just 11 seconds into the first period. 

The freshmen class continued to showcase their scoring abilities with forward Matthew Kopperud going on to score two goals in the first and third periods. The team's top point-scorer, Kopperud leads the team in both goals and assists, with four apiece. The Colorado native is on a heater - scoring in the last three consecutive games. Fellow freshman forward Benji Eckerle lengthened his assisting streak - earning another apple for the third consecutive game. 

"You play the right way, you get rewarded and we're playing the right way right now. We're doing a lot of good things," said head coach Greg Powers. The Sun Devils fought their way back from an 0-3-1 start to the season before they found their offensive kick in the Wisconsin series.  

The Sun Devils will finish off the top-20 series with the Fighting Irish on Friday night at 7 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. MT airing on NBCSN.  

HOW IT HAPPENED:

  • Eleven seconds after puck drop at center ice, freshman forward Ryan O'Reilly beat two Notre Dame defenders to score the first goal of the night. Senior forward James Sanchez and redshirt junior Chris Grando collected the apples. 
  • Freshman forward Matthew Kopperud found the back of the net off a pass from linemate junior forward Demetrios Koumontzis some 90 seconds after O'Reilly's goal to put the Sun Devils ahead 2-0 early in the first period. Junior forward Jordan Sandhu earned the secondary assist. 
  • The Fighting Irish put one tally on the board after scoring on the powerplay to cut the Sun Devils lead to one.
  • ASU responded quickly and sophomore forward Jax Murray scored off a deflection pass from Eckerle's shot at the faceoff putting the Sun Devils ahead 3-1. 
  • Notre Dame snuck one past junior netminder Evan Debrouwer in the final seconds of the first period. The first 20 left the Irish trailing the Sun Devils, 3-2. 
  • Debrouwer faced 17 shots in the first period from the Notre Dame offense.  
  • After putting pressure on the net, Koumontzis scored off a rebound from freshman forward Michael Mancinelli's shot on goal to increase the lead 4-2. Mancinelli's assist gave him his first collegiate point with Kopperud tallying the secondary assist. 
  • The Fighting Irish fought back with another goal to put them behind by one for the second time.
  • Debrouwer finished the second period with 6sixsaves on seven shots from the Fighting Irish. 
  • Notre Dame pulled their starting netminder with 10:30 left in the third period after Kopperud nailed a fifth ASU goal from the dot - his second of the game. It's the second time in as many series that ASU has chased a goalie out of his home barn. 
  • In a last ditch effort, Notre Dame pulled the goalie and played with an extra man with 2:57 left in the game, but to no avail. ASU's Murray collected his second goal (EN) of the game to complete the ASU win, 6-3. 

GAME NOTES: 

  • O'Reilly's 11 second goal is the quickest goal from the start of a game in program history, beating a 15 second goal by senior forward Johnny Walker at Princeton on Dec. 7, 2018. 
  • With four goals each, Kopperud and Murray are now tied at third in the country for most goals scored.
  • Kopperud has scored in the last three consecutive games (1G at Wisconsin on 11/28, 1G at Wisconsin on 11/29, 2G at ND on 12/3)
  • The Sun Devils finished 0-1 on the power play and the Fighting Irish went 1-1. ND led the shots on goal, 34-28.
  • Despite the Fighting Irish outshooting the Sun Devils in the first period by nearly double, ASU outscored ND, 3-2, in the first frame. The game flip-flopped as the Sun Devils completed the second period with 12 SOG compared to ND's seven. 
  • This is the second game this season that the Sun Devils have scored at least six goals. 
  • Thursday's victory is the program's first win against Notre Dame. The series now stands at 1-2-0. 

A Word with Coach Powers:
On record thus far:
"We knew what we had and we didn't push the panic button. We have an entire season still ahead of us. The hockey gods are fierce. You play the right way you get rewarded and we're playing the right way right now. We're doing a lot of good things." 

On freshmen contribution:
"There's a reason why they're a top five class. They're all tremendous players. I said prior that they have the most pure talent and skill of any freshman class that we've brought in, they can all play." 

On team synergy: 
"I think right now they are just becoming such a close group because of the nature of this trip. They're just bonded together really tight right now and you could feel it after that Michigan State series. The week we were sitting around at Wisconsin during Thanksgiving you could feel the positivity and practices have been unbelievable. We have a lot of guys doing a lot of really good things."