In a closely contested matchup on the ice of Tucson Arena between two in-state rivals, Arizona hockey found some early momentum as they outshot Arizona State. No. 14 Cully Olsen, assisted by Dawson Marshall and Duke Litwin scored the first goal of the game for the Wildcats in the first period with 4:35 remaining.
The Sun Devils answered with a goal of their own during a powerplay, almost midway through the second period, with 15:03 remaining. The period ended with the score tied at one.
Then, No. 15 Anthony Cusanelli, assisted by Bayley Marshall, broke the tie for the Wildcats with 10:58 remaining in the third period.
The Wildcats' second penalty of the game, a two-minute slashing call against Trey Decker, gave the Sun Devils another powerplay which lead to their second goal of the game with 8:09 remaining. After the tie though, the Sun Devils gave the Wildcats their first powerplay of the game.
This powerplay didn’t last for long, though; one small scuffle later led to a huge fight on the ice after No. 12 Christopher Westlund slammed a Sun Devil into the boards. This resulted in Westlund sitting in the penalty box, as the Sun Devil didn’t immediately get up. After a thorough discussion, the referees decided to give Westlund a major for checking from behind. Westlund was ejected from the game and will be suspended from Saturday night’s game against Arizona State.
The second tie of the game at two remained through the end of regulation as the Wildcats and the Sun Devils headed into overtime. The overtime magical energy inside Tucson Arena didn’t last for long though, as Arizona State defenseman Zach Kowalchuk put a dagger into the Wildcats' hopes of winning the opener of their home series against their feared in-state rival. It was his 11th goal of the season and the final score was 3-2 in favor of the Sun Devils.
“Untimely penalties cost us, and we’ve got one of the best penalty kills in the country and it wasn’t very good for us tonight for whatever reason, and so we’re going to have to make some adjustments,” Head Coach Chad Berman said. "We had good energy. We had a couple that we should have had. I mean, we were at 94% on our penalty kills and we gave up three goals there. Some of the guys taking a penalty will get to watch tomorrow."
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