Short-handed ASU dominates Arizona hockey
Arizona hockey heads to winter break with a bitter taste in its mouth after being swept in its own building by ASU over the weekend, outscored a total 20-6.
With head coach Sean Hogan away at the Winter World University Games, the No. 13 Wildcats (10-12-0) extended their winless streak to the No. 1 Sun Devils (23-0-0) to 36 games.
Friday night, Arizona jumped out to a 3-1 lead before ultimately falling in a hard fought 7-4 loss. The following night was the most forgettable of the season after ASU erased a 2-1 second period deficit by scoring 12 unanswered goals to head home with a 13-2 victory and the series sweep.
“I kind of failed them — the entire coaching staff and myself with keeping [the Wildcats] disciplined and motivated; it just didn’t happen,” UA interim head coach Dave Dougall said. “We took penalty after penalty, and [ASU] had power play goal after power play goal.”
Keenan Turner/ The Daily Wildcat UA freshman forward Alex O'Dea trys to keep possession of the puck during the UA vs. ASU hockey game Friday.
Even with standouts Brian McGinty, Danny McAuliffe, Sean Murphy, Alex Temby and Jordan Young with Hogan in Europe, the Sun Devils still capitalized on six of 10 power play opportunities Saturday.
ASU head coach Greg Powers said that all his players are still very good; the ones on the lower lines just haven’t gotten the opportunity to show it until getting the playing time they did over the weekend.
“[The Sun Devils] have a lot of talent up front; they move the puck really fast, and they have one of the quickest releases in the league,” Wildcats sophomore defenseman Nick Hinsberg said. “But when it comes down to it, we just have to play the game we know, and that just didn’t happen tonight.”
Because assistant captain Andrew Murmes was serving a suspension and his fellow senior forward Ansel Ivens-Anderson was still hampered by his foot injury, Arizona had to turn to others for offensive production. On Friday, UA freshman forward Robert Wilkinson netted two goals, and the following night, senior forward Eric Watters added a pair of his own.
“It’s been a little slow for me this year, but it’s nice to pop in a couple against ASU,” Watters said. “I think I was just excited to wrap up the semester. We were really pumped up before these games, and that’s what really got me into it.”
Freshman Garrett Patrick started between the pipes for the Wildcats Friday, and senior Steven Sisler got the nod the next night for the first time since Nov. 1 when he injured his groin. However, it was a disappointing return for Sisler as he was pulled for Patrick in the second period after giving up the seventh goal of the contest.
Patrick struggled to find his groove again, surrendering another six goals that night.
“No one suffered any serious injuries this weekend; I would say it was just their egos,” Dougall said.
Arizona now has winter break to recollect itself, returning to the ice for a non-ACHA matchup in the Tucson Convention Center against York of the Canadian Interuniversity Sport league on Jan. 3, 2014.
—Follow Joey Putrelo @JoeyPutrelo