Hockey Drops Game One of Four to UAF
TEMPE, Ariz. – The Arizona State men's ice hockey team (15-15-0) opened the four-game home and away series with a 5-3 loss against Alaska Fairbanks (8-16-1) on Friday night at Oceanside Ice Arena. It was a back-and-forth game through the first two periods of play, and despite ASU outshooting the Nanooks, 41-32, the Sun Devils were unable to capitalize on the momentum in the third.
"Just keep fighting, it's all you can do. Just keep fighting," said Powers on the mindset going into tomorrow. "It's hard to win in college hockey. We had a goal to get to 20 wins and we can do it and that's our goal. We need to win every game we have left and that starts tomorrow."
The first period got off to a slow start, graduate Jacob Wilson was called for throwing equipment which resulted in a penalty shot for the Nanooks. Alaska's Brady Risk was able to sneak the puck past Ben Kraws for the one-goal lead.
"It was pathetic and that really put us on our heels a little bit. We climbed out of it, but that was an inexcusable call," said Powers, who strongly argued the penalty called that resulted in the awareded penalty shot.
With three minutes remaining in the first, ASU had a power play chance of their own, but couldn't capitalize on the man-advantage.
The Sun Devils generated a firestorm of chances through the beginning minutes of the second period, but it wasn't until the 10-minute mark, when senior forward Jordan Sandhu scored his second goal of the season, tying the game at one.
After a momentum shift in favor of the Sun Devils, sophomore forward Matthew Kopperud stole the lead with another power play goal. Kopperud currently ranks 7th in the nation in total points scored this season with 34. His 10 PPG on the season ranks second in the country.
"We had all the momentum, and again in the third, they didn't generate any, they didn't have any possession, they didn't have any zone time at all, and they had a couple scoring chances and they scored on them," said Powers.
The tables turned when Alaska got called for slashing, resulting in a penalty shot opportunity for ASU, but Sandhu was unable to find the back of the net.
With two minutes remaining in the second period, the Sun Devil penalty killing unit came out for the first time, but were unable to stop the Nanooks man-advantage who made it a tie game yet again.
The final frame was a scoring frenzy as the Nanooks went up by one early in the period and extended the lead to two with five minutes remaining. The Sun Devils pulled netminder Ben Kraws at 2:30. Shortly after, UAF was called for too many men on ice with 1:49 remaining to give ASU the 6-on-4 advantage. UAF scored and Kraws reentered the net with a minute remaining. Jack Jensen scored the final goal of the game with just seconds left in regulation to punctuate the score, 5-3.
"All the credit goes to Alaska. They worked hard tonight and played really well," said head coach Greg Powers. "Their goalie is really good. We knew he was good. He was tremendous tonight and made some big saves."
4:15- UAF (0-1) The Nanooks took an early one-goal lead four minutes into the period with a penalty shot after defenseman Jacob Wilson was called for throwing equipment.
10:16- ASU (1-1): Sandhu scored off a shot from the far left circle to tie the game at one. Linemates Johnny Walker and Benji Eckerle earned the assists.
11:56-ASU (2-1): Shortly after, Kopperud sent a one-timer past Alaska's netminder to give the maroon and gold a one-goal lead. Sophomore Tim Lovell and graduate Jack Becker cashed in the assists. Lovell's 19 total points leads the ASU defensemen in scoring.
18:47 - UAF (2-2): Freshman forward Josh Doan was called for cross-checking, the Nanooks power play unit were able to convert for a tie game heading into the third.
2:05 - UAF (2-3): Alaska's Caleb Drite scored in the opening minutes of the third period for the one goal lead.
15:49 - UAF (2-4): After a battle through most of the third, UAF was able to sneak another one past Kraws extending their lead to two.
18:39 - UAF (2-5): ASU pulled Kraws for on a 6 on 5, but the Nanooks sent the puck down the ice and into the empty net for their fifth goal of the night.
19:40 - ASU (3-5): The last goal of the night came from freshman forward Jack Jensen who found the back of net amidst commotion for the second power play goal of the night. Sophomore Michael Mancinelli and senior Chris Grando earned the assist.
His thoughts on getting momentum back after power play goal:
"Well we had all the momentum, you know we had all the momentum after Kopper scored that power play goal, and then obviously that penalty shot, and then put our top line out right on the draw and they get a ride out and turn it over a couple times and then the penalty, its hockey right, that's just the way it works. We had all the momentum, and again in the third they didn't generate any, they didn't have any possession, they didn't have any zone time at all, and they had a couple scoring chances and they scored on them. It's just a couple of big mistakes by our D and they capitalized, you know, their guys made mistakes tonight and we didn't. And that's how the game works. It's why college hockey's so good. Everybody's good, it's hard to win. Anyone can get anybody.
On his overall thoughts tonight:
"All the credit goes to Alaska. They worked hard tonight and played really well. Their goalie is really good. We knew he was good. He was tremendous tonight and made some big saves. The second and third period I thought we controlled the game. We were a little bit slow to start. The kid made some big saves, and that one tied up at the end of the second– when you have a chance to go up 3-1 on the penalty shot and don't execute. I thought we controlled possession in the second period and in the third, we outshot them 22-8 but we were outscored 3-1. Certainly, that's not goaltending. It was two big mistakes by our D core. Again, in games like that you can't make those mistakes, guys stepping on the neutral ice and giving up man rushes and guys getting danced in front of our net and that was the game. It's a tough game and they deserved to win."
On what's next:
"It's tomorrow. We have to come out and get a split and get back over .500. We're 15-15 now and it's unfortunate but we have to find a way to dig out of it and get going. We have five games left."
On defensemen and playing defense:
"It's literally the golden rule. We don't give up on man rushes and we do not step up in neutral ice and tonight they did it. At this point in the season they shouldn't be making those mistakes. It is what it is. They have to learn from it."
On the penalty shot awarded to UAF:
"Let's call a spade a spade, that penalty shot that was awarded to them was literally the worst call I've seen made in college hockey ever. It was pathetic and that really put us on our heels a little bit. We climbed out of it but that was an inexcusable call."
On getting the power play going:
"I thought the power play was really good. When we win that initial draw and get set up; it's tough for teams to deal with. It's all about getting possession, and tonight anytime we didn't get some good looks, we didn't get that initial draw. But, it was good. Kopper hammered it and we were feeling good after that. If you would've told me that would be the score after he scored that goal I would have never believed it. We felt really good about that goal."
On message going into tomorrow:
"Just keep fighting, that's all you can do. Just keep fighting. It's hard to win in college hockey. We had a goal to get to 20 wins and we can do it and that's our goal. We need to win every game we have left and that starts tomorrow."
On having multiple good chances but not finding back of the net:
"It's all about getting pucks and bodies at the net just like Sandhu's goal, that's how we want to play. No shot is a bad shot. In the first two periods, we had guys with literally half-semi breakaways not even put a puck on net, because they were looking for the perfect shot and against a goalie that good, it's not going to get the job done.We have to just throw it on him, crash the net, get some ugly ones, and then that breaks him down a little bit. So hopefully we execute that tomorrow."