Fab Five Score in 50-Shot Night
TEMPE, Ariz. — Sun Devil Hockey's (5-4-0) offense came alive in the third period to solidify a 5-2 victory over St. Thomas (1-8-0) at Oceanside Ice Arena on Friday night.
Five different Sun Devils netted goals, four of which came in the third period. Sophomore forward Matthew Kopperud started things off for Arizona State early in the second period with a power play goal. Things were tied at one heading into the third period when sophomore forward Benji Eckerle registered his first goal of the season. Despite St. Thomas evening the score once again, ASU pulled away with goals from sophomore defenseman Tim Lovell, graduate defenseman Tim Theocharidis and graduate forward Johnny Walker.
"It was a great effort," head coach Greg Powers said. "We played really well from start to finish. It was clean and the transition was great and didn't really give up anything. Congrats to St. Thomas, they were opportunistic on a couple of chances and buried it. Their goalie played tremendous, I thought that team played hard but we just weren't getting in his eyes and weren't getting bodies to the net. We were getting pucks to the net and we were playing how we wanted to play, other than that in the third we had some bodies in the net and we took the lead."
The Sun Devils will face the Tommies for game two Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. MST. Fans can watch the game on Pac-12 Insider.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- It was a defensive battle in the first period leaving both teams scoreless. The Sun Devils outshot the Tommies 13-5.
- Kopperud registered his seventh power play goal of the season to give the Sun Devils a 1-0 lead. Lovell and Doan earned the apples.
- Thirty seconds later, St. Thomas answered to tie things up at one.
- Eckerle kicked off the third period scoring his first goal of the season to put the Sun Devils up 2-1. Graduate defenseman Jacob Wilson and graduated forward Jack Becker tallied the assists.
- The Tommies tied things up at two seven minutes into the third period.
- Less than a minute later, Lovell gave the Sun Devils back the lead with assists from Walker and junior defenseman Jacob Semik.
- ASU wasn't done as Theocharidis netted a goal to make the score 4-2. Junior defenseman Jack Judson and Kopper had the assists.
- An empty net goal by Walker solidified the 5-2 victory. Freshman defenseman Ty Murchison earned his first assist of the season.
- Between the pipes, junior netminder Ben Kraws recorded a .882 save percentage with 15 saves.
- Kopperud extended his scoring streak to four games with seven of his goals coming on the power play.
- This was the first meeting between Arizona State and St. Thomas. The Tommies are in their first year as a NCAA Division I program.
- The last time the Sun Devils registered at least 50 shots in a game was against Omaha on October 27, 2018. ASU outshot St. Thomas 50-14.
- Through nine games played, Lovell has earned three goals and eight assists.
- Eckerle's goal was his first of the season.
- The Sun Devils are now 4-0-0 when scoring four or more goals.
- In each game this season, Arizona State has scored at least two goals.
Head Coach Greg Powers
On the 50 shots on goal and the third period adjustments:
"Just a heavy emphasis on getting bodies in the net. That kid is a good goalie. He played at North Dakota, and he's a really good goalie. He played great tonight and we were just letting him see everything. When you let a kid like that see shots, he's going to stop them. We got in his eyes and got some bodies in the net and were able to take the lead."
On keeping momentum:
"It was a fast game. I thought we dictated the pace of the game which is what you want and we were that good in transition and we were getting up the ice quickly and when all five guys are playing that way on the ice we're going to be a tough team to beat."
On the emphasis going into tomorrow:
"If we play like we did tonight, we have a good chance of winning. I don't have any complaints. I don't think anyone played poorly, and I liked how our team played. We have now won four out of the last five games, so we're getting there. I still think we're barely scratching the surface of what we can be or what we expect to be so we're trending in the right direction."
Getting back to 2019 mentality of physical and aggressive:
"I think so. I think we can be even more physically aggressive. We were really good on the forecheck tonight. I thought defensively our guys didn't give them anything. We closed gaps, we closed time and space. They didn't have much offensive zone time at all and again that is playing physically aggressive. It's not just big hits. I really like how our team played tonight. It was a clean effort."
How it feels to be above .500:
"We're an independent. Our guys know how important every game is. We emphasize that they know it. We have to collect wins to get into the tournament. That's our goal. We collected one tonight, put it in the bank and then tomorrow we got to get a sweep and get two games above .500. That's what it's all about. Every game is a game 7 for us. We have to collect wins as an independent to get in and if we can get to 6-4 we're in a pretty good place.'
Sophomore defenseman Tim Lovell
On his goal:
"I thought it was a really nice goal. I think the play was made by Johnny Walker, so it was an unbelievable look by him and it was good to capitalize on that."
Graduate forward Jack Becker
On the belt he's wearing:
"This is our ultimate warrior award. It is given to the player that does not necessarily score all the goals or gets all the points, but blocks shots."