Third period push not enough for ASU, drop finale to UAH
By Will Everett // ASU NCAA Hockey Beat Writer for Blaze Sports
TEMPE, AZ A sweep just wasn’t in the cards as the Arizona State Sun Devils fell to the University of Alabama-Huntsville Chargers Saturday night by a score of 3-1.
The Chargers dominated in the score sheet, outshooting ASU 33-19. In spite, Sun Devil head coach Greg Powers praised the play of his starting goalie Joey Daccord. who finished the night with 30 saves.
“I think Joey played really well,” said Powers, “the two goals they got him…he was helpless on the 5 on 3.”
Daccord also thought he played well, and also stated that guys played well in front of him.
“It’s tough to swallow we were right there,” said Daccord.
ASU had plenty of odd man rush chances early in the first period, but Huntsville countered those attacks with well timed hits to stop the rushes.
The intensity was high for both clubs as Huntsville tried to avoid being swept, while ASU worked to achieve their first sweep of the season. Scoring chances were fairly even in the first period while shots were not: 14-2 in favor of Huntsville.
Inability to obtain the puck in the neutral zone hurt both sides as neither team could control the pace of play.
A slew of penalties in the first created some extra juicy scoring opportunities for both sides, but the Chargers clearly controlled the pace of play. Neither team was even strength from 11 minutes left in the first until intermission.
The energy was definitely there for the ASU to begin the second period.
The Sun Devils were in obvious control of the pace and finally testing Huntsville starting goalie Jordan Uhelski. The boys in Maroon and Gold finally caught a break off the stick of Brinson Pasichnuk on the power-play with 13:00 minutes left in the second. It would be short lived however when Huntsville provided a spectacular display of tic-tac-toe around Daccord nearly 60 seconds later.
A Steenn Pasichnuk major penalty with 9:35 minutes left in the second left ASU shorthanded for five minutes.
Jakob Stridsberg picked up a high sticking penalty with two minutes left in the Pasichnuk major leaving the Sun Devils down two men. Huntsville made use of their advantage as Brennan Saulnier put home a one timer to put the Chargers up by one.
The penalty kill help Huntsville to only one power play goal. Both Daccord and Powers agreed that the penalty kill has improved greatly.
Daccord especially was a supporter of the way the penalty kill unit played.
“I thought we did a great job with what we were given,” he said. “I thought we did a really good job honestly.”
The Sun Devils were awarded an early power-play in the third period but failed to capitalize. ASU spent the third period trying to put the Chargers on their heels by shooting every chance they got, and lifting the puck deep in the offensive zone to tire out the Huntsville defense.
The Sun Devils made a valiant push and starting laying the body heavily toward the end of the third, but the salt in the wound came when the Chargers put an empty net goal in with 29 seconds left.
“A classic case of to little too late,” said coach Powers, “it’s honestly just befuddling”
ASU will have an off weekend before returning to the ice against No.15 ranked Penn State Nittany Lions at Gila River Arena on November 17. The game will be carried here on Blaze Radio with Ethan Schmidt and Weston DeWitt on the call.
Will Everett is Blaze Radio’s beat writer for the NCAA Hockey team at Arizona State. You can reach out to him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow Will on Twitter @TheRealWillyEvs.