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Kopperud's Stick Stays Hot, Walker Hits 100 Career Points

Jan 10, 2021
Photo courtesy of Notre Dame Athletics

NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- The duo of freshman Matthew Kopperud and senior Johnny Walker helped lead Sun Devil Hockey to a bounce-back victory against No. 18 Notre Dame in its final game of the series at Compton Family Ice Arena with a 5-3 victory Sunday afternoon.

Kopperud netted another two power-play goals for eight in the four games against the FIghting Irish this season, while Walker reached his 100th career point with an assist to James Sanchez in the first period seconds after a power play completed. Walker finished the night with four points thanks to another highlight-reel goal and two additional assists.

"We got a pretty good licking today at the pregame meal, and it was well deserved," said senior forward and co-captain Johnny Walker. "We were told we can sit there and feel sorry for yourselves or respond. And everyone bought in and responded terrific, so couldn't be more proud of this group." 

After a season-ending injury midway through the 2019-20 season, sophomore netminder Justin Robbins recorded 26 saves in his first career start for his first collegiate victory. 

"He just battled and competed," said head coach Greg Powers of his goaltender. "He wasn't leaky, he controlled his rebounds. He was really solid. I'm so happy for the kid and proud of him, and I know all the guys are too."


  • Midway through the first period, senior James Sanchez was found on the backdoor by Walker, who fired a shot off the pads and over Ryan Bischel for the 1-0 lead.
  • The Fighting Irish tallied their first goal of the night off a deflection in front of the goal to cut the lead to one
  • ASU responded as Michael Mancinelli and Ryan O'Reilly led a rush before O'Reilly fired a shot that Jarrod Gourley cleaned up for his second goal of the season.
  • The Sun Devils extend the lead in the third period, as Chris Grando creates a turnover before finding Walker who drags past the defender to fire a shot top shelf to put the Devils up 3-1. 
  • Notre Dame fights back as Max Ellis fires a turnaround shot past Robbins to cut the lead back to one. 
  • Colin Theisen of Notre Dame is called for a major penalty giving the Sun Devils a powerplay for five minutes with 8:58 remaining in the 3rd.
  • Kopperud scores his third goal in two games, pushing ASU's lead back to two, 4-2, with 2:22 left on the power play.
  • Just under two minutes later, Kopperud struck again for his second of the night as he buried a loose puck in front for the 5-2 lead
  • Off the faceoff, Notre Dame's Max Ellis quickly entered the zone and scored one final time -- this time shorthanded -- for the final goal of the night. 


  • "I think it's gotta be this building. I don't know what it is, but it has to be the building or something. My stick just likes this building." -Kopperud on scoring eight goals vs. Notre Dame this year
  • "Prior in the day, let's just say we had a not-so-pleasant meeting. So everyone just came out with more fire under their belt. Then JR starting kind of gave everyone some more hype and play better for him in his first start. Then he played outstanding, which was incredible." -Kopperud on feeling taking the ice tonight
  • "One shot at a time, just be in the moment. Just play in the moment." -Robbins on his mindset going into his first NCAA start
  • "I wasn't worried about it, and haven't thought about it til now. Just so relieved to get a win against that team. We played really well." -Walker on hitting 100 career points
  • "Robbie is an A+ teammate. To come in relief in tough games like he has and not get a start. To battling every day in practice, to the freak injury. Nothing makes me happier than to help him get his first win. The consensus was doing it for him tonight." -Walker on Justin Robbins


  • With another two-goal night, Kopperud is up to 12 goals on the season and extends his NCAA lead. Eight out of his 12 goals have been scored against Notre Dame with two goals in each game against the Irish. 
  • Kopperud is now tied for second in the NCAA in points (18) and leads the country in power play goals with seven. 
  • ASU's power play unit has now scored in five consecutive games, three of which included multiple goals. The Sun Devils were 2-for-6 on Sunday, and scored another just as a power play expired. 
  • Walker reached his 100th career point with three assists and a goal on the night in just his fourth game back with the Sun Devils. He's the first Sun Devil to record a four-point game since him and his linemate James Sanchez both did so against Wisconsin on Feb. 21, 2020. 
  • Walker has scored in three-consecutive games with three goals and an assist. 
  • Tonight was Robbins' first career start and win for the Sun Devils. The last time he was in the net was in relief on Oct. 12, 2019 at No. 3 Minnesota State. 
  • The Sun Devils have a combined 17 goals in the four meetings with the Fighting Irish this season. The season total for goals scored against the other six Big Ten opponents sits at 31. 
  • Sanchez finished with four points on the weekend, tallying three assists on Saturday and a goal on Sunday.
  • Walker has scored in three-consecutive games with three goals and an assist. 
  • The Sun Devil penalty kill negated their only penalty of the game. They have killed 10-straight penalties dating back to the last game against Ohio State.
  • The Sun Devils have recorded the third-most total goals scored this season with 50. Since the Michigan series, it also ranks second in scoring (4.00 g/gp) among all teams who have played at least eight games or more.