Over the weekend, the Arizona State Sun Devils visited the University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks where they found a surprisingly offensively-potent opponent.
October 20th, Game 1
Game 1 in Omaha is one the Devils are definitely going to want to forget after losing 5-1. This was their worst goal differential loss so far this season, as they repeatedly left backup goalie Ryland Pashovitz out to dry, who had an 80% save percentage on the night.
Unlike other losses the Devils have suffered this season, this one was not a quick burst of goals by the opponent, but rather a methodical attack leading to defensive breakdowns. The Mavericks pounced on these opportunities constantly, like sharks smelling blood.
The scoring opened up a little over 8 minutes into the first, when Luke Nogard went 5-hole on Pashovitz to put the Mavericks ahead. The Devils played tight the rest of the period, limiting scoring opportunities and went to intermission down by only one goal.
9 minutes into the second, Tyler Vesel put another by Pashovitz due to a bad Devils turnover in the offensive zone. Not long after that, Mason Morelli buried a pass from Steven Spinner, widening the gap to 3 goals. The Devils struggled to find their offensive game and limped into the second intermission down by a trio.
Just over 4 minutes into the third, the Devils found themselves on the power-play, their third and last man-advantage opportunity of the night. Hoping to will themselves back into the game, Jacob Stridsberg netted a goal from the point to draw the Devils within two.
Unfortunately, more poor defensive zone play led to the Mavericks extending their lead to 4-1. The backbreaker came on a late Mavericks power-play when Zach Jordan’s shot found its way through the wickets and ended the Devils night, 5-1.
October 21st, Game 2
The second game was much different than the first. The first was a chess match that Omaha masterfully won through patience and being opportunistic. The second was...it was something.
In the most ASU way possible, the Devils allowed a goal just under a minute into the first. And that was just the beginning, as Joey Raats took a questionable boarding penalty just after the Mavericks scored. Omaha made the most of that opportunity, as they scored a power-play goal to give them the 2-0 lead. Things didn’t quite calm down though, as Gage Hough connected with Jacob Stridsberg for his second goal in two nights, drawing the Devils to within one heading into intermission.
Just three and a half minutes into the second, resident Latvian Gvido Jansons tied it up 2-2 for the Devils with a snipe, including apples from Norris and Gruber.
ASU had two power-play opportunities, failing to connect on both. Not long after, Jake Clifford took a kneeing penalty, sending Omaha to their second power-play of the night, where they eventually connected to gain the lead once more.
The Devils took their sweet old time to tie the game. Just seven seconds after the Mavericks PPG, Brett Gruber scored and Jacob Stridsberg picked up his second point on the night, making it 3-3.
But the Devils weren’t done yet. ASU’s top defenseman, Brinson Pasichnuck, took a not-so-smart penalty by tripping an Omaha player and subsequently receiving a game misconduct for not using his words properly.
Wanna guess what happened next?
Tyler Vesel collected his second goal in two games to retake the lead for the Mavericks, 4-3. The score would stand for about 8 minutes until Max Balinson would tally one, with just 38 seconds remaining in regulation with the goalie pulled. Luckily, Pasichnuck’s visit in the sin bin had come to an end just in time to find Anthony Croston, who found Balinson, who found the twine, making it 4-4 at the end of regulation.
To 5-on-5 overtime we go! No game winner.
To 3-on-3 overtime we go! Still no game winner, but check out this miraculous save Joey Daccord makes to save the game. (This save tops out at No. 1 on the NCAA Hockey Plays of the Week!)
To the shootout we go! Both Omaha shooters were stopped by Joey Daccord and Gage Hough was stopped by Kris Oldham but Jack Rowe came in clutch and delivered the game-winning shootout goal to win it for the Sun Devils.
Notes from the Inferno:
- The Devils “improve” to 1-4-1, adding a shootout winner to to the tail end of their record.
- Devils defenseman Jacob Stridsberg delivered offensively, providing 3 points (2-1-3) over the weekend series in Omaha.
- Brett Gruber had a 2 point weekend (0-2-2), giving him 3 points in his last 4 games.
- Joey Daccord not only stunned UN-O in overtime, but stopped 38/42 (90.5%) shots on goal and both Omaha shooters in the shootout.
- Louie Rowe continues to be silent, not posting any points since his monstrous opening weekend (1-4-5) vs UMass Amherst.
- Omaha goalie Evan Weninger posted a 96% save percentage in game 1 while his counterpart, Kris Oldham, handled the firewagon that was game 2, stopping 28/32 (87.5%) shots on goal.
The Devils continue their road trip in New York as they take on Colgate at 4 p.m. MST on Friday (10/27) and a 1 p.m. MST puck-drop on Saturday (10/28).