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Hello 2022! Hockey Opens the New Year in Upset Fashion

Jan 1, 2022

TEMPE, Ariz. – The Arizona State men's ice hockey team is off and running in 2022 after stunning No. 9 Cornell University with a 5-2 upset at Oceanside Ice Arena on Saturday night. ASU hand-delivered the Big Red just their second loss of the season. The New Year's Day victory was the first top-10 win for ASU since defeating No. 8 Clarkson in January 2020, and the five goals tonight were the most scored against Cornell all season. 

"It was a good team win," said head coach Greg Powers. "Top to bottom, I thought everybody played well, and we had the big saves when we needed them from Cole Brady, and that settled us, and the guys played the last two periods very well."

The Sun Devils (11-10-0) started Brady in the net against Cornell (9-2-1). The sophomore gave up an early goal in the first, but he was near lights out the rest of the way. Brady notched 31 saves while his offense scored five goals to fuel the Sun Devils past Big Red.

After a quiet first half of the opening period, Cornell got on the board at the 10:23 mark to give them the early lead in the game. In the first, the Sun Devils were perfect on the PK (1-1) and held their own despite being outshot 14-9. Brady had 13 saves, and his defense helped him out to block another six shots.  

The second period started similarly with a relatively quiet first half, until Colin Theisen returned the favor to Big Red with his breakaway goal at 7:22 into the second to tie the game up, good for his 26th point of the season (13G-12A). 

ASU had their first power play of the game with 3:54 remaining in the second period after Cornell was sent to the box for holding, but the 11th best penalty kill squad in the nation lived up to the hype and kept the game tied. Chris Grando joined in on the fun and made Cornell's goalie pay for emptying the cage. His unassisted goal slipped past two defenders and found the back of the vacant net to put ASU up 2-1 heading into the second intermission. 

Matthew Kopperud proved he doesn't just score PPG's by tacking an even strength goal onto his resume to extend the lead to two. Cornell's six-on-five goal in the final minutes was too little too late as two empty net goals from Jack Becker and Sean Dhooghe gave the Sun Devils the much needed cushion, resulting in a 5-2 Sun Devil win.

Josh Doan debuted his number change of 94 on Friday night. He will wear No. 94 for the remainder of the season in honor of the late Matt Shott.

First Period
10:23 Cornell (0-1): ASU had an early PK minutes into the first period after Koumontzis was called for high sticking, and after nearly 10 minutes of no action, Cornell got on the board first.

Second Period
7:22 ASU (1-1): Colin Theisen found the back of the net thanks to a Cornell turnover that he stole in the neutral zone. Theisen carried the puck through the breakway and evened the game at one apiece. 
19:26 ASU (2-1): After Cornell's goalie chased down the puck to the top of the circle, Chris Grando beat him to it and made Cornell pay. He was able to slip the puck through two defenders and into the net for the Sun Devil goal, and the 2-1 lead. 

Third Period
7:30 ASU (3-1): Matthew Kopperud opened the scoring in the third with his 12th goal of the season with assists from Demetrios Koumontzis and Sean Dhooghe. 
18:36 Cornell (3-2): With a six-on-five advantage, Cornell pulled within one with just above one minute remaining. 
18:58 ASU (4-2): Jack Becker's clutch empty-net goal came 20 seconds after Cornell's score to give ASU some breathing room.
19:58: ASU (5-2): Sean Dhooghe called game with an empty net goal of his own with just two seconds remaining in regulation. 

UP NEXT: ASU will finish the home series against Cornell tomorrow, January 2 at 7:05 pm MST at Oceanside. After concluding home play, the team will hit the road to the east coast for two games against Boston University on January 7-8. 


Cole Brady
On getting the start:
"It was just good to get back in the win column. The guys played great and we deserve that win." 

On how it felt to play after the break:
"I think we had a really good week in practice and we came in well prepared. It's always good to get back and feel refreshed. It's a long season and I think everyone is just happy to be back and excited to play again."

Chris Grando:
On the success of his line:
"I think that when we are relentless on the forecheck like that, we're very effective and I thought that showed tonight."

Matthew Kopperud:
On starting the new year off with a goal:
"It definitely helps. I don't think about scoring goals, I just try to play hard and intensely. I thought our line was working really hard the entire game and I was lucky enough to get one. 

Coach Powers: 
On flipping the switch after the first period:
"It was impressive. That was a really good team that we just played and we're going to have to be even better tomorrow if we are going to win. I thought we had a pretty good first period, I didn't mind our first period… They got a backdoor goal. It was what it was. It was a good team win. Top to bottom, I thought everybody played well, and we had the big saves when we needed them from Cole (Brady) and that settled us, and the guys played the last two periods very well."

On the third period performance: 
"That's how you close out games. I don't think there was a person in the building, especially on our bench, that thought they were going to score because of how well the guys were playing. But they just got pucks and bodies down there and got an ugly one. We were debating on if it even counted but it is what it is and guys got through it. 

On the PP improvement despite no PPG's:
"We only got one chance there, and there are some things we can clean up on it but they got some looks. We have to get pucks through, but they got some looks. If we're going to go on a run like we all think we can, know we can, then we are going to have to get that going."

On the importance of playing with a lead:
"It's huge. That was just an effort play by Chris (Grando) and he was working really hard in that second period. It was nice to see him get rewarded. It was just a straight-effort play and it gave us a ton of energy and a ton of confidence going into the third with the lead."

On the importance winning out at Oceanside:
"We know how good we are here. We're tough to beat here. We are 9-4 now, with a win tomorrow we'd go to 10-4 at home and reset, and then we're on the road for 10 days with four big games to make headways. It's all about tomorrow right now. We get them tomorrow and we're in a good spot."