This weekend in Colorado Springs, the Sun Devils endured a familiar weekend outing.
Like the previous game 1, the Devils were shut out 4-0, causes being reminiscent of previous games: lethargic segments of play and inopportune turnovers.
Game 1 was going fine and quite even until a defensive breakdown caused Zach Berzolla to find Westin Michaud backdoor for the easy tap in.
Not 17 seconds later, the Tigers crash Joey Daccord's crease again. Daccord had close to no defensive support and as a result Colorado College extended their lead to 2-0.
The Sun Devils started getting some chances, but none of which could find their way past the net-minder Alex Leclerc.
Just before the 15 minute mark in the first, Tyler Busch took a slashing penalty. The Tigers made them pay as Christiano Versich executed another backdoor tap-in for Colorado College.
The Sun Devils limped into the dressing room trailing 3-0 after just one period.
The second...did not start out so great. Johnny Walker missed a chance at one end and Westin Michaud came back down and sniped one on Daccord for his second of the night.
That was it for Daccord as Ryland Pashovitz replaced him for the remainder of the game.
The Devils finished the rest of the uneventful period, relatively unscathed.
In the third, the Devils just couldn’t buy a goal. Brinson Pasichnuk, shorthanded, Filips Buncis a post, nothing.
ASU would go on to drop this one in a shut out, 4-0.
The second outing went a little better.
The Devils opened up the scoring before the 5 minute mark as Anthony Croston fed resident Latvian Gvido Jansons for the opening goal and first Sun Devil tally of the weekend.
Not 5 minutes later, the Devils pounce on a turnover leaving Brett Gruber to bury a one-timer in a 3-on-0 situation. The Devils led 2-0 after 10 minutes.
Then the wheels fell off the wagon.
Jake Clifford took a penalty leading to the leading point-scorer of the Tigers to wrist one top shelf beating Daccord on the power play to draw within one.
Right after Colorado capitalized on an odd man rush to tie the game.
With just 26 seconds left in the first, the Devils were now behind as the Tigers tapped it in back door again.
The seconds starts and Louie Rowe takes a questionable cross-checking penalty. Wanna guess what happened next?
That’s right, Colorado College scored their eighth goal in two games, putting the Devils behind by two.
Say what you will about this team, they seem to always, or at least try to, get back into the game. That’s what they did.
Just over the halfway point of the second, Tyler Busch buried a cannon off a shot to cut the Tigers lead in half.
Not long after Joe Lappin took a penalty, Anthony Croston picked up his second point of the night and the first Sun Devil shorty of the year, beating Leclerc clean.
The third period was immensely enjoyable to watch as both teams played a track meet. The Tigers would get a quality chance, then the Devils.
Both teams got power play opportunities as well as some 4-on-4 time, but this would not be decided in regulation.
Apparently not in overtime either!
The Devils went on to drop the game in the shootout, but it counts as a tie no matter the end result.
What can be learned from these two games?
The Devils need to learn to keep their feet moving, not only to prevent flurries of goals, which happened in both contests, but to keep from taking stick penalties.
These penalties often result from lazy back-checking and being tired. These guys need to be aware of their shift times and not get caught too long in their own zone.
Easier said than done.
Lastly, Daccord is a great goaltender and hopefully will be for his NHL club, the Ottawa Senators. He does not allow eight goals in two nights because he plays poorly.
He is racking up the goals against because of the constant and inopportune turnovers.
Because of the constant defensive breakdowns.
Because of the constant inability to break the puck out of the zone.
He needs help.
If the Devils want to start winning games, they are going to have to ask their defense to worry a little less about getting in on the rush and a little more about their defensive game.
Notes from the Inferno:
-Saturday’s replacement of Daccord was only the second time this season Ryland Pashovitz saw ice time. Losing 5-1 to Nebraska-Omaha in his first outing.
-Saturday’s shut out was the second straight game 1, 4-0 shut out the Devils lost.
-Brett Gruber continues to impress, picking up a goal on Sunday afternoon. he has begun to emerge as one of the more consistent Sun Devils.
-Anthony Croston remains the leading scorer for the leadership group, adding 2 (1-1-2) points to his season total of 7 points (3-4-7).
The Sun Devils travel to Pittsburgh, PA to battle #9 Providence College in Three Rivers Classic. ASU faces off with Providence Friday 12/29 and if they win, either Robert Morris or Lake Superior State on Saturday 12/30 at PPG Paints Arena.