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Two for Forking: ASU Splits Opening Series with UMass-Amherst

The Sun Devils kicked off their junior campaign against UMass-Amherst, with eyes towards growing as a team early on.

Louie Rowe tracks down a puck in the corner boards, while being defended by Mario Ferraro

This weekend the Arizona State Sun Devils split their home opening series with the UMass-Amherst Minutemen.

Game 1 Friday night saw the Devils’ “Captains Line” of Captain Dylan Hollman and Alternates of Anthony Croston and Louie Rowe, absolutely unload on the UMass defense. The “Captains Line” combined for 10 points in just that Friday night game. Louie Rowe having a four point (1G-3A) night.

The Sun Devils played a chess match with the Minutemen in the 1st period, going into the 2nd period tied 1-1 with goals from Stridsberg (ASU) and Chaffee (UMass). The 2nd went much the same until late in the period when the Devils finally clicked on the Power play as Brinson Pasichnuk sent one top shelf to put the Devils up 2-1.

Not long after that, the “Captains Line” sent Louie Rowe on a breakaway where he went top shelf himself.

Early in the 3rd, the Captains struck again as Rowe dished to Hollman, who found defenseman Joey Raats jumping up on the play for what could be considered one of the most beautiful one-timers in NCAA history.

However, a 4-1 loss to ASU wasn’t something UMass wanted to happen for a 3rd straight time in their short list of meetings.

UMass clawed their way back with goals by Marco Bozzo and Jake McLaughlin.

With under 90 seconds to play in the period, UMass called their Goalie to the bench for the extra attacker. Coach Powers would have none of it and threw the Captains back out.

The Captains got the job done as Croston won a board battle to Rowe, who fanned on a shot, but found Hollman on the side of the net for the easy tap in.

It may seem obvious, but Coach Powers was very impressed with the “Captains Line” calling them “tough to handle” and as the leaders “they stepped up the most” to help out the freshman.

Coach Powers was also happy to hand out compliments to freshman defenseman Jacob Wilson who saw an uptick in ice time as the game went on.

He also noted that Stridsberg and Pasichnuk, the top two defensemen, struggled even though they still produced 4 points (1G-1A each).

Both Louie Rowe and Coach Powers expressed confidence in Ottawa Senators goalie prospect Joey Daccord who according to Powers, “was strong” and saying, “he probably wanted that first one back, but those last two weren’t on him”.

Unfortunately, Game 2 didn’t go as well.

Jake Gaudet of UMass notched the first goal almost seven minutes into the game. That didn’t last for long as highly touted freshman Johnny Walker of Phoenix, put in a feed from Joey Raats and Dylan Hollman.

Just past seven minutes into the second, UMass struck again as Griff Jeszka filtered one through Daccord to break the tie. 2/3 of the “Captains Line” combined for the Sun Devils’ response as Louie Rowe gift wrapped one for Anthony Croston to tie it all up again.

Again, we go to second intermission tied, both teams tallying one goal in the period.

Two goals were scored in the 3rd, but unfortunately both were UMass products. About halfway into the 3rd, UMass potted the go-ahead goal to put the pressure on the Sun Devils. The Devils fought to tie it, but to no avail as the Minutemen put in the back-breaker.

UMass beat ASU 4-2, both teams combining for 7 goals each over the weekend and splitting the series in Tempe.

After the game, Coach Powers noted that the Minutemen “just played with more urgency then us” and “it showed on the scoreboard”. Powers also stated that the team can’t continue to rely on the “Captains Line” for offense.

Even after Saturday’s loss to the Minutemen, Coach Powers still had high praise for freshmen Jacob Wilson and Johnny Walker, saying that they “are meshing well” and “the leaders have done an extraordinary job helping them transition” to NCAA play.

Notes from the Inferno:

-Louie Rowe score 5 points (1-4-5) over the weekend while playing on with Anthony Croston and Dylan Hollman.

-The “Captains Line” combined for 11 points (3-8-11) throughout the weekend matchup.

-The Avalanche’s 4th overall pick, Cale Makar, was held to 1 assist over the course of both games.

-Last year ASU swept their Series with UMass in Amherst, Massachusetts, winning 4-1 in both games.

-UMass goalie Wishow stopped 22/25 (88%) shots in Game 1 and Matt Murray (no, not the 2-time Stanley Cup Champion) stopped 20/22 (91%) in Game 2.

-Joey Daccord played both nights stopping 40/46 (87%) pucks.

-There were a lot of penalties (15 in just Game 1) and ASU’s PK unit killed was a perfect 10/10 and the PP unit scored on 1/13 clicking at 7.6% over their first 2 games.

Next Up: ASU will face No. 19 Air Force this weekend in Colorado Springs on 10/13 and 10/14.