Hockey Dominates in Season Opener
TEMPE, Ariz. — Sun Devil Hockey capped off the first game of the 2021-22 season with a 5-3 victory over UMass-Lowell, fueled by two goals in the final minutes. The game was a back-and-forth offensive battle that kept the score tied for almost all of regulation.
"It's just a mindset I think," head coach Greg Powers said. "They jumped on us pretty quick. Our guys did a lot of good things, they really did. We've got a good team, when you can beat a team like Lowell and not play your best I think that's a sign you're a good team. We believe in every one of our guys and I think tomorrow we will give a much better effort."
FIGHT WITH YOUR MIGHT AND DON'T EVER YIELD ?? pic.twitter.com/OGdFgFHkcr
— Sun Devil Hockey (@SunDevilHockey) October 3, 2021
Sophomore forward Matthew Kopperud led the scoring for the Sun Devils, tallying two power play goals. Four of the Sun Devils' five goals came during a power play. In his first game with the Sun Devils, junior netminder Ben Kraws recorded 29 saves with a .906 save percentage.
It was a night full of firsts: freshman Jack Jensen netted his first collegiate goal, freshman forward Josh Doan recorded three points in his first collegiate game, sophomore Tim Lovell etched his first goal and assist as a Sun Devil, and graduate forward Jack Becker registered his first goal and assist in Maroon and Gold.
The Sun Devils will face the River Hawks for game two Sunday night at 4:05 p.m. MST. The game will be broadcast on the ASU Live Stream.
Huge thanks to @942Crew for coming out in full force..see you tomorrow for Sunday Funday! @SunDevilHockey #bethetradition https://t.co/IVKbNbcezj
— Greg Powers (@asucoachpowers) October 3, 2021
HOW IT HAPPENED
- UMass-Lowell opened the scoring 58 seconds into the first period.
- The Sun Devils immediately struck back with a power play goal from sophomore forward Matthew Kopperud to tie things up at one. Freshman forward Josh Doan and sophomore defenseman Tim Lovell tallied an assist.
- The River Hawks scored a shorthanded goal four minutes later to take the lead 2-1.
- Nine minutes into the second period, freshman forward Jack Jensen notched his first collegiate goal, tying things up at two with assists from sophomore forward Michael Mancinelli and freshman d-man Ethan Szmagaj.
- UMass-Lowell added another goal at 13:23 to go up 3-2.
- Three minutes later, Kopperud recorded his second power play goal to tie the game at three. Graduate forwards Jack Becker and Colin Theisen earned the apples.
- On a five minute power play, Becker netted his first goal in Maroon and Gold to give the Sun Devils a 4-3 lead.
- Less than two minutes later, Lovell added in another one for good measure, scoring his first goal of the season. Doan earned the assist to secure the 5-3 victory.
- The last time the Sun Devils scored three or more power play goals was against Robert Morris on February 1, 2020.
- The Sun Devils finished 4-6 on the power play, while the River Hawks went 0-3.
- Tonight's game marked redshirt senior forward Chris Grando's 100th career game.
- For the second time in two years, Kopperud scored two power play goals in a game. The last time was against then #18 Notre Dame on January 10, 2021.
- UMass-Lowell and Arizona State last met on January 13, 2018 with Arizona State winning 4-0. During that matchup, graduate forward Johnny Walker scored two goals.
UP NEXT: Sun Devil Hockey (1-0-0) returns to the ice at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 3 against UMass-Lowell.
Head coach Greg Powers
On how the freshman played tonight:
"Jack Jensen had a big goal, I thought Ethan Szmagaj was awesome back there, Murch (Murchison) was great, and then obviously Doaner had some points. The kid (Josh Doan) just figures out a way to get on the score sheet, he's a special player. They're all just going to keep getting better and better."
On how the power play did tonight:
"We love both units. That unit with Lovell just really clicked. I think there's going to be games where the other unit does the same. It's just loaded, I mean we've got the leading scorer in college hockey on the other unit and he didn't get out there a lot because the other one was just going. We believe in both of them and we're going to need both of them."
On Cole Brady:
"He just competed, he battles and competes. I'm happy for him that he got the win. Cole will be back next week. I'm happy about the depth we have in that position."
Graduate forward Johnny Walker
On playing in Oceanside again:
"It's so cool. You saw how excited we get when we score. It's awesome to be able to build off that crowd and I think the rink is going to be great next year but we're going to miss playing at Oceanside for sure."
On the energy coming into the game:
"I think all the boys wanted redemption on being able to play here. We play so well here. I just saw freshman step up and feel that energy. (Josh) Doan and (Ethan) Szmagaj played really well and obviously Jensen scored too, so it just bled through the whole locker room. It's awesome."
On what the leaders said after the quick goal to start the game:
"There's nothing that really needs to be said. Guys have played at a high level and understand you play 60 minutes for a reason. I think everyone reset really well after getting punched in the face. We responded really well. It was a little overwhelming there for awhile but we figured it out and we did what was important."
Sophomore forward Matthew Kopperud
On the power play unit:
"Yeah, we have four new guys on that unit, we all just clicked together and in practice we were feeling good with the puck and everything translated to the game."
On his performance tonight:
"My gameplay probably wasn't the best it could be. The power play was looking good, but five on five you didn't really notice, it was a hard fought game so I have to be better for sure with five on five.
On shot preference and having both goals from the right circle:
"I mean, I like shooting from there but I'll shoot it from anywhere basically."